translated by Brett Larner
Enough with the hate mail. Marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) returned to the Chiba Aqualine Marathon, where he is the course record holder, to run its half marathon on Oct. 19, winning in 1:04:22 and beating 2nd place by more than 5 minutes. "I had fun today! I was grinning the whole time I was running," he said with a smile. "I held my pace steadily and even picked it up at the end."
His shot for a gold medal in the Asian Games marathon ending in bronze, Kawauchi has excused himself from running any of the domestic selection races for the Japanese team for next summer's World Championships marathon in Beijing, China. Taking himself out of contention for the national team for the time being has lightened Kawauchi's load and left him feeling free. "Up to now I've always had to worry about my time and place when I ran," he said with honesty. "Now's it's like, 'Enough of that! It's got nothing to do with me!'"
After the Asian Games Kawauchi received hate mail at work addressed to the "civil shithead" and saying things like, "Never run the marathon again!" Nobody has felt the responsibility of wearing the Rising Sun more than Kawauchi, but this time was different. "I've removed myself from national team contention, so I don't deserve to be told things like that," he said. "Until I'm good enough to be selected [for the national team] why don't you say them to the people who are on the Japanese national team instead?" It was clear that the pleasant sea breeze wasn't enough to cool down the heat boiling up inside the civil servant runner. He next races at the Nov. 2 New York City Marathon.