Caught Off Guard by Announcement, Kawauchi's Colleagues Vow to Support Him All the Way in Next Phase of Career
After announcing his plans to go pro at Narita Airport, Kawauchi hurried to work at Kuki High School in Kuki, Saitama. After receiving flowers, a cake and blessings for his achievement from Principal Atsushi Takemoto and his coworkers, Kawauchi smiled widely, saying, "I'm very grateful. I'm so happy. I didn't think I could really win it."
With a pile of documents stacked high on his desk, Kawauchi opened his computer and got down to work. Asked why he had come to work right after returning to Japan he answered, "I've been absent for a week and came back a day later than scheduled, so I've caused a lot of inconvenience."
Kuki High School is approaching its 100th anniversary. A member of the centenary commemorative project executive committee, Kawauchi commented, "I owe a lot to my colleagues having supported me, and the 100th anniversary project matters. For the time being I want to keep my balance between work and racing the way I always have until now."
Kawauchi is beginning his fifth year at Kuki High School following five years at Kasukabe High School. Principal Takemoto praised him, saying, "He is an excellent administrative worker. He is a very serious young man who shows initiative in his work. Once this centennial business calms down I'd like to do something to recognize him."
Regarding Kawauchi's announcement that he would go pro, Principal Takemoto commented, "If that is his wish then I would like to respect it. I think that a result such as that he produced must have made him think. We all want to support him."
Members of the prefectural government's running club who trained with Kawauchi and took part in training camps and ekidens with him were likewise surprised by his announcement that he would go pro. Club director Sho Kuwabara said, "I'm shocked. Kawauchi is always really into training. I'm impressed every time."
The running club has about 100 members. It was founded in 1983 but went defunct at one point. Since Kawauchi joined the number of club members has swelled, as have its female fans. Club secretary general Keiko Kanai shared Kuwahara's surprise, saying, "We just talked about the training camp schedule last week." At the club's year-end-party and other events, Kanai said, "He never stops talking about marathons. Racing is always on his mind."
"He never forgets when someone has helped him and always tries to repay that debt," said the prefectural sports bureau's Masami Kubo. Wishing only the best for the office star, Kubo said, "I'm sorry to hear that he is going to turn pro, but we'll support him forever."
translated by Brett Larner