translated and edited by Brett Larner
The 43rd running of the Kushiro Shitsugen Road Race took place July 26 in Kushiro, Hokkaido in rainy conditions. 3870 people started the race, aiming for the finish line as they ran through the region's beautiful natural areas. Likewise aiming for the Olympics as an amateur athlete, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was on-hand as an invited runner, receiving a bouquet of flowers.
4220 people entered the race this year, a new record. The 30 km walk division began at 6:00 a.m., with the 30 km race starting at 9:30 accompanied by people in the 15 km walk, 10 km and 3 km run divisions. Locals crowded the course to cheer passing runners on. Kawauchi won for the fifth-straight year, crossing the finish line in 1:35:08. Post-race he said, "I feel great when the conditions are perfectly cool like this. If it's late July that means I'm running in Kushiro. That's a commitment I've made. This was another great race here." Kawauchi's youngest brother Koki Kawauchi (22, Team Monteroza) also ran, finishing 3rd in 1:45:57.