translated and edited by Brett Larner
2014 Incheon Asian Games marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the 1500 m at this weekend's Saitama Prefecture Track and Field Championships at Kumagaya Sports Park Field. Running both the semifinal and final on June 29, Kawauchi placed 1st in the semis in 3:55.18 before winning the final in 3:56.48 to happily claim his first prefectural title.
Kawauchi fell short of his PB of 3:50.51, but, he said with a smile, "I'm really, really happy to win the title. It was important to me to win, and everything went according to plan. Marathon runners don't have to just run the marathon!"
Asked for comment on Japanese-born comedian Hiroshi Neko being named to the Cambodian team for the Asian Games marathon, Kawauchi replied, "His best is slower than my worst, so what am I supposed to say about him? I'm going there to win the gold medal. His goal is something different. It would be strange if I sent him encouragement. Once the race is over it's of course important to respect each other's efforts in the competition, but it's strange to think that a member of the Japanese national team would cheer on a member of the Cambodian national team."
Next weekend Kawauchi runs Australia's Gold Coast Airport Marathon in defense of his win there last year. "I want to play a leading role in the greatest marathon in Australian history," he said.
Translator's note: In his last race two weeks ago Kawauchi set the 50 km national record of 2:47:27. His younger brother Koki Kawauchi (Takasaki Keizai Univ.) finished 3rd in the Saitama 1500 m final.