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Kawauchi Wins Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Despite Going Off-Course

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Probable Moscow World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the Apr. 14 Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon, winning in 1:06:28.  With the cancellation of last weekend's Satte Sakura 10-Miler due to bad weather it had been three weeks since his last race, the Mar. 24 Saitama City Half Marathon, a long time off for someone who has raced almost every weekend since the start of the year.  The result of this break?  Only 1.5 km into the race Kawauchi went the wrong way and ran off the course.  "I hadn't properly researched the course and lost about 30 seconds.  It happens a lot," he said with an embarrassed laugh.

The Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon was Kawauchi's tenth race of the year, coming on the heels of a minor hip injury after the Mar. 14 Seoul International Marathon.  "Since I do my own thing it's easy for me to take time off when I need to," he said.  "My hip is fine now."  Today's race also marked the beginning of an eight-week stretch that will see Kawauchi run nine races.  His next race is the Apr. 21 Nagano Marathon, his first full marathon since setting his 2:08:14 PB in Seoul.  "My goal in Nagano is to not take a wrong turn," he deadpanned.  With one marathon a month on his schedule so far this year Kawauchi has set himself a challenging program, but if he is successful in Nagano he will become the first Japanese man to win in the event's 15-year history.

Beyond Nagano, Kawauchi plans to prepare for August's World Championships by running the June 2 Chitose JAL International Marathon for the first time, the June 16 Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon for the third-straight year, and the July 7 Gold Coast Marathon for the second-straight year, with additional overseas races in the fall.  "I want to prove that Japanese runners can win outside Japan too," he said.  "Last year I won Sydney, so to begin with I want to become famous in Australia."


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