Skip to main content

Forced to Do Federation 40 km Run Nine Days After Perth Marathon, Kawauchi Furious as Half of National Team Skips it

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140910-OHT1T50076.html
http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140909-OHT1T50166.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Incheon Asian Games men's marathon team member and civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran in a 40 km time trial and biometric measurement run in Shibetsu, Hokkaido on Sept. 9 as part of the Marathon National Team's official training camp.  The Japanese Federation launched the National Team project in April, naming twelve men to the team.  The 40 km run, designed so that Federation officials could measure each member's biometric data before and after a race and examine the changes, was the climax of the National Team's first group training camp which has gone on since late August in Hokkaido. 

On Aug. 31 Kawauchi ran the Perth Marathon in Australia, winning in a course record 2:12:55 before returning to Japan and joining the National Team training camp on Sept. 6.  "The Federation people told me, 'You're damn well going to run this 40 km, whether you just ran Perth or anywhere else!'" he said.  Despite it being only nine days since he ran a full marathon, Kawauchi finished 2nd in the 40 km run in 2:14:52, running with the others in the lead group through 35 km before dropping his 5 km split 1:40~1:50 for the final 5 km.  His fellow Asian Games marathoner Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) ran 2:15:32, saying, "There's less than a month left, so I'd like to use the momentum from this run to pick up the pace."

However, of the twelve members of the National Team, only seven ran.  Kawauchi expected the elite members of the team to be honored to have been chosen and to work hard while coping with the pressure of selection, but he was shocked and disappointed to see nearly half of them skip the 40 km run because they weren't feeling good or had recently run marathons.  "I want to see the media really hit these shameless people hard.  'Is that really good enough?  Is that all you've got?'  'Next year your neck should be on the chopping block,' that sort of thing." Kawauchi said, calling for directly critical articles unusual in the Japanese media and urging greater overall awareness.  "Please, question this, bring the power of the pen into play to prod our athletes into becoming stronger.  If only half can coordinate their training to be ready for an important measurement race like this then there is a major problem.  People like that will have disappeared by next year."

At the 2011 and 2013 World Championships Kawauchi struggled to deal with the pressure of running under the weight of the Rising Sun.  "There was a lot of attention, and the criticism of me was very direct," he said.  "I had problems with depression, but in the end it toughened me mentally.  The pressure of being on the National Team is just a little bit less than that, but I know it will end up being a positive, stimulating experience."

Comments

patrick voo said…
man - i cannot believe that the Federation officials would lean so heavily into Yuki and then let other national team runners beg off using lesser excuses. if anything, the Federation should have gathered that with Yuki's unreal commitment to the sport he would have at least made more than a half-hearted attempt to attend the time trial - then they could have played the heavy with some of the other runners who are not pushing as hard to comply with the team expectations.

just another vote for Yuki as standout world-class competitor.

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …