translated by Brett Larner
Known as Japan's #1 amateur runner, two-time World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will appear in Kawauchi village on Dec. 8 to help launch the town's new Mini-Marathon race. Never giving up and clenching his teeth as he runs with all his strength, Kawauchi resonates with the people of the village as they face the future and take steps forward toward reconstructing from the TEPCO Fukushima #1 Nuclear Reactor disaster.
Mayor Yuko Endo has long shared a sense of affinity with the athlete with the same name as the town under his stewardship, and when he approached the famous marathoner with an invitation to run Kawauchi was quick to accept. "I've always been curious about this town that shares the name of Kawauchi with me," he said.
At 10:00 a.m. on Dec. 8 Kawauchi will give a talk in the Iwananosato area of the town. Afterward, Kawauchi will help launch the Mini-Marathon through the streets around Iwananosato, giving runners in the children's, elementary school, junior high school, high school and open divisions the chance to run with him. Along with commemorative photos with Kawauchi, the event will include the chance to help paint a giant mural with him on panels made with genuine Kawauchi village wood. The main road making up the race course will also be renamed "Yuki Kawauchi Commemorative Road" in his honor.
Organizers hope the event will attract participants from a wide area. Mayor Endo was optimistic, saying, "Kawauchi running here will help give us all the strength to face reconstruction of our lives and future."