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Kawauchi Wins Nijuken Doro Half Marathon, Set to Decide Olympic Trial Plans in Cape Town

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20150906-00000122-nksports-spo
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1534420.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Sept. 6 Rio Olympic team hopeful and amateur running hero Yuki Kawauchi (28, Saitama Pref. Gov’t) galloped through the home of the thoroughbred. Kawauchi won Sunday’s Nijuken Doro Half Marathon in Shin-Hidakamachi, Hokkaido, crossing the finish line in 1:05:32. With the town famous for producing thoroughbred racehorses, ranches filled the area around the course. “I come to Hokkaido a lot but this is my first time in the Hidaka region,” Kawauchi said. “Even when I was running I noticed horses all around. It was a lot of fun to run somewhere with a feeling of wide open space. I haven’t run very good times lately so I’m happy with my time here today.”

Kawauchi also talked about his plans for the lead-up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, saying that he is currently considering running one of two Rio selection races, either the Dec. 6 Fukuoka International Marathon or the Mar. 6 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. He will make a decision about which race to run based on his performance at the Sept. 20 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in South Africa. “If I clear my target there then I’ll run Fukuoka,” he said. “My target time is between 2:10 and 2:12. In Fukuoka if I can’t run 2:07 then I won’t be able to be competitive in the race. As a step toward that, 2:10 to 2:12 in Cape Town. If I can’t clear that then I’ll run Lake Biwa.” With regard to his reasons for running Cape Town Kawauchi cited his Olympic ambitions, saying, “It’s in the southern hemisphere, it’s a long flight there and there’s a significant time difference. It’s an ideal rehearsal for Rio.”

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How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

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
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Guinness Certifies Kawauchi's World Record 78 Career Sub-2:20 Marathons After Half Marathon in Panda Costume

Known as the Civil Servant Runner, Saitama Prefectural Government employee Yuki Kawauchi's career record of 78 sub-2:20 marathons was officially recognized as the Guinness World Record at a ceremony in his hometown of Kuki, Saitama on Mar. 25.  Raised in Kuki, Kawauchi began working for the Saitama Prefectural Government after graduating from university. Running while working full-time as a civil servant, he has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic trial race.

Earlier this month on the 18th Kawauchi ran Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon, winning in 2:14:12. His 78th time running faster than 2 hours and 20 minutes, his achievement was certified as the official Guinness World Record. He actually broke the previous record on Jan. 1 at the Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon in the U.S.A. with his 76th sub-2:20 but followed up with two performances, one in February and the other last week, before Guinness could ratify the record.

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