translated and edited by Brett Larner
Promising a race of "action," Japan's strongest amateur, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) left Tokyo's Narita Airport with other members of the men's marathon and javelin squads on Aug. 11 for Moscow where he will run his second-straight World Championships marathon. The day before, women's marathoner Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) won a bronze medal, raising spirits and creating great excitement in the Japanese athletics world. Kawauchi, who finished 18th in 2:16:11 two years ago in the Daegu World Championships, was upbeat but serious, saying with determination, "Last time I blew it. This time is going to be full of action. I'm in good shape, and I am going to bring everything I've done and learned up to now into play. I'm ready to achieve my goal of finishing in the top six." With two incredible years behind him since Daegu and more than 300 races in his career to date, Kawauchi has plenty of reason to be confident.
The biggest fear is the heat in Moscow, where temperatures as high as 37 degrees were recorded during the marathon despite expectations that the city would be cool. Kawauchi, who has had trouble with hot conditions in the past and suggested he may quit running summer marathons depending on his results in Moscow, was airily fatalistic as he said, "It's do or die with all my heart, that's the only way to go into this. If it goes over 30 degrees, if it's 32, 33, 36, 37 degrees, even 40 degrees, it doesn't change anything. I'm nervous about collapsing and heatstroke and will be careful about drinking at the water stations, but no matter how painful it gets, even if I'm crawling, this one is to the death. If I blow it this time, there is no next time."
The World Championships men's marathon is on August 17 at 8:30 p.m. Japan time.