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Kawauchi Declines Prizes After Winning Toyohiragawa Half Marathon: "I'm Here for the People"

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) won the 25th anniversary Toyohiragawa Half Marathon in Sapporo on May 5, running a solo 1:05:45.  A day earlier, Kawauchi also ran the May 4 Kasukabe Odako Half Marathon at home in Saitama.  "That's a first even for me," he said.  After finishing Toyohiragawa, he declined to be named winner and turned down the prizes.  With no top-level corporate or university competition in the race, Kawauchi said, "It wouldn't be right to accept prizes.  I'm here for the people, and if that helps make the race more popular then I've accomplished my mission."  He then went out into the crowds to greet fans, smiling and talking to them one by one. Appearing onstage as a presenter at the award ceremony, he was greeted by an ovation of cheers.  "I've never done back-to-back half marathon races before, but in training I do that kind of distance all the time," he said onstage.  "It was a good experience."

Toyohiragawa was Kawauchi's first time back in Hokkaido since winning last August's Hokkaido Marathon.  "The conditions were good [9 degrees], so I ran at a good pace."  He was scheduled to head home the afternoon of the 6th, but, he said, "I want to go to Koganeyu hot springs so I can relax and fully recover."  Even with only a few hours on his hands Kawauchi planned to get the most out of his time in Hokkaido.  Before August's World Championships marathon he plans to run three more races in Hokkaido, including the June 2 Chitose JAL International Marathon.  "I want to use Chitose to help myself visualize the World Championships marathon," he said, indicating how important a role Hokkaido plays in his preparations to take on the best in the world.


Steve Lafler said…
Whatever pleases Kawauchi is fine, he is a great athlete. But there is nothing wrong with accepting prize money. After all, it is a professional sport.

I do not find any moral superiority in his position.
Brett Larner said…
He wasn't talking about prize money or in a general way. His comments were specific to doing this amateur-level race as a training run the day after another training run performance at another amateur-level race. He was satisfied with pleasing his fans and didn't want to take whatever prizes this race offered (a trophy, fruit, tuna, etc.) away from amateurs who had raced it seriously. It isn't a question of 'moral superiority.'
As if another reason to like the guy was necessary. Cool story. I'll always be a fan!
John Taninecz said…
Truly inspirational and graceous.

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