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Kawauchi Returns From "Extremely Productive" Test Run of London World Championships Course

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2017/01/03/kiji/20170103s00056000092000c.html
http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20170103-OHT1T50070.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
photos by Brett Larner

Having finished 3rd in 2:09:11 as the top Japanese man in the Dec. 4 Fukuoka International Marathon to establish himself as the leading contender for the Japanese national team at August's London World Championships marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (29, Saitama Pref. Gov't) returned to Narita Airport on Jan. 3 after test running the actual London World Championships course.

From Dec. 30 through Jan. 1 Kawauchi did test runs on the World Championships course three days in a row. Describing his impressions of it he said, "I thought it was going to be flat, but there were more slopes and sharp curves than I expected.  There are both a flat section along the River Thames that looks like it will be fast and a more technical section."

With an eye toward the World Championships Kawauchi also spent time investigating the city of London and said that it had been extremely productive.  "I learned how to use the underground system and found a Japanese curry shop two stops away from the athletes' village. There were supermarkets and convenience stores nearby, and it looks like it will be easy to rent a bicycle to be able to get where I want to go for training before the race too.  It was perfect preparation."

Kawauchi has decided that the London World Championships will be his last time running on the Japanese national team if he is chosen.  "I said that this will be my last time, so my goal will be to medal," he said.  With his motivation already building early in the new year, his first race of 2017 will be the Jan. 8 Ikinoshima Half Marathon in Nagasaki.

photos © 2017 Brett Larner
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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
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           …