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Kawauchi Sets Hometown Kuki Half Marathon Course Record Wearing Junior High School-Era Uniform

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2017/03/19/kiji/20170319s00056000211000c.html
https://www.daily.co.jp/general/2017/03/19/0010014104.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner
photo by Tsukasa Kawarai

Fresh from being named to the London World Championships men's marathon team on Friday, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the first race of his London buildup Sunday at the Kuki Half Marathon, winning by a massive margin in a course record 1:05:03.  The site of his unofficial half-marathon-in-a-suit world record in its first edition last year, the Kuki Half Marathon is Kawauchi's hometown race.  With a course change sending the race past his alma mater Washinomiya J.H.S. this year, Kawauchi ran wearing his junior high school-era uniform.  "It was a headwind the whole way," he laughed about his time, almost three minutes slower than his PB.  "Now isn't the time to push it. I feel good."

Having declared that the World Championships will be his last time competing on the Japanese national team, Kawauchi looked ahead to the main event five months distant.  "The fact that I'm going there means I intend to medal," he said with determination.  "As I was running today the people of my hometown were calling out, 'Congratulations on London!'  The support was greater than I could have imagined.  That means I have to do it right.  I have to try to live up to those expectations.  There's no room for believing my chances of medalling are zero."

In preparation, he announced that along with several half marathons and June's Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon he will run the Czech Republic's Prague Marathon in May, Sweden's Stockholm Marathon in June, and Australia's Gold Coast Marathon in July.  "In Prague I'll be aiming for a PB, and in Stockholm and Gold Coast sub-2:10," he said.  "When London's over I want to take a break for a while, so until then it's attack attack attack."  Facing his last world-level challenge, Kawauchi remains one-of-a-kind in his approach. Miracles can't happen without pushing yourself beyond your limits.

photo © 2017 Tsukasa Kawarai
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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.

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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
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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.

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