translated and edited by Brett Larner
Incheon Asian Games marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) arrived by plane at Seoul International Airport on Sept. 27. The gold medal-aspiring civil servant runner had a stony expression as he showed confidence in his condition, saying, "I've built up for this." On his arrival it was raining lightly with cool temperatures around 20 degrees. Averse to the heat of summer races, Kawauchi said, "These conditions are great. I hope it's like this on the big day."
Regularly incorporating trail and mountain running into his training, Kawauchi was shocked and dismayed by the serious damage caused by the eruption of Mt. Ontake a few days ago. "I've never been there, but Ontake is a well-established center for distance running [training]. I can't believe something like that happened."
If Kawauchi wins the gold medal, he will earn a guaranteed spot on the team for next year's Beijing World Championships. Finishing in the top eight there as the top Japanese would earn him a guaranteed spot on the Rio De Janeiro Olympics. In that respect, the Asian Games Marathon are a major step toward realizing his Olympic dreams. With 2:06 Ethiopian Shumi Dechasa having recently acquired Bahrain citizenship, Kawauchi said warily, "There has probably never been [an Asian Games marathon] this high-level."
The men's marathon takes place the morning of Friday, Oct. 3. Having made the last two World Championships teams Kawauchi has experience wearing the Rising Sun, but both races ended in defeat. At the Asian Games, Kawauchi said, "Third time's a charm."
Enter JRN's Asian Games marathon prediction contest for a chance to win a custom-made stainless steel finisher's medal wall display with Kawauchi's motto "Genjou Daha" ["Make a Breakthrough"], an issue of Like the Wind magazine, or a limited edition Kawauchi uchiwa fan produced for the Asian Games by broadcaster TBS. Entries must be received before the start of the women's marathon on Oct. 2.