Yuki Kawauchi

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Yuki Kawauchi
Men's Marathon (Sokolov, Butter) – 2013 World Championships in Athletics.jpg
Kawauchi (left) at the 2013 World Championships
Personal information
Born (1987-03-05) 5 March 1987 (age 30)
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 62 kg (137 lb; 9.8 st)
Country  Japan
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) Half marathon: 1:02:18
Marathon: 2:08:14 (Seoul 2013)

Yuki Kawauchi (川内優輝, Kawauchi Yūki, born 5 March 1987) is a Japanese marathon runner. He came to prominence after running the 2011 Tokyo Marathon in 2:08:37, finishing as the first Japanese and third overall.[1] He is known as the "citizen runner" given that he works full-time for the government of Saitama Prefecture and trains in his time off with his own expenses without any sponsorship.[2]

Kawauchi is a frequent competitor, entering many races each year, ranging in distance from the 1500 m to the 50 km ultramarathon. Among his performances, he has won at the Hokkaido Marathon and Beppu-Ōita Marathon and has reached the top three at the Tokyo Marathon and Fukuoka Marathon (the two major marathons in Japan). His personal best for the distance is 2:08:14 (Seoul 2013).

In spite of him being an amateur, he has represented Japan internationally at the World Championships in Athletics and the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. He has two younger brothers, Yoshiki and Koki Kawauchi, who are also marathon runners.[3]


Early years[edit]

Born in Setagaya, Tokyo,[4] Kawauchi began running from a young age: first he practised with his mother and later with the track teams at high school. While there, the combination of an injury and the premature death of his father meant that his running suffered. Nevertheless, he continued to enjoy the sport at a lower level while studying at Gakushuin University. After university, he did not receive much interest from corporate running teams – the typical route to professional running in Japan. He decided to continue running for pleasure, entering races and paying his own expenses.[1]

He came third at the 2008 Ageo Half Marathon with a time of 63:22 minutes and began competing in marathons the following year. He gradually improved his times in 2009. His debut at the Beppu-Ōita Marathon saw him come 20th with a time of 2:19:26 hours. He bettered this with a showing of 2:18:18 for 19th at the Tokyo Marathon a month later, then managed 13th at the Fukuoka Marathon in December with a run of 2:17:33 hours.[5] He began to break into the upper echelons of the national scene at the 2010 Tokyo Marathon, where he claimed fourth place with a personal best time of 2:12:36 hours.[6] Despite this improvement he was further down the field at the Fukuoka race, finishing tenth with 2:17:54 hours.[7]

Rise to the top level[edit]

Kawauchi improved his half marathon best to 1:02:40 at the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon in February 2011, finishing inside the top ten.[8] He set his sights on a top eight finish at the Tokyo Marathon later that month but exceeded his own expectations by running a time of 2:08:37 hours and taking third place. As the best Japanese performer, he earned selection for the 2011 World Championships in Athletics.[9] In June he entered the Okinoshima Ultramarathon and led the 50 km race right up to the last 600 metres, at which point he collapsed due to heat stroke and failed to finish the race.[10] At the World Championship Marathon held in Daegu he finished in 18th place – a performance which helped the Japanese team including Hiroyuki Horibata and Kentaro Nakamoto to a silver medal in the 2011 World Marathon Cup.[11] He competed extensively towards the end of the year and his form held well: he managed fourth at the Osaka Marathon, then took third at the Fukuoka Marathon. The latter was an Olympic qualifying race and he was the first placed Japanese. The Japan Association of Athletics Federations played down his selection choices, saying his time of 2:09:57 was not fast enough, but Kawauchi upturned tradition by saying the race was a warm-up for the second qualifier in Tokyo – Japanese runners rarely enter both selection races due to their proximity in the running calendar.[12] Only two weeks later Kawauchi entered the Hofu Marathon and was runner-up behind Mongolia's Serod Bat-Ochir. He remarked that the fatigue from the previous race had hurt his chances of winning the race.[13]

At the start of 2012 he ran a half marathon best of 1:02:18 hours in Marugame, but his unorthodox decision to race frequently ruined his chances of Olympic selection, as he finished fourteenth with a time of 2:12:51 hours at February's Tokyo Marathon. He called his own performance "disgraceful" and shaved his head to make amends for disappointing his supporters.[14] This did not deter Kawauchi from following his own running narrative, however, and he entered nine marathons that year, winning five of them. He took the top honours at the Kasumigaura Marathon, Hokkaido Marathon, Sydney Marathon, Chiba Aqualine Marathon and Hofu Marathon.[5] Kawauchi's return to Okinoshima produced a course record victory of 2:51:45 at the 50 km race.[15] On top of his marathon running, Kawauchi ran six half marathons, including top three finishes in Shizuoka and Ageo as well as 21st place at the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.[5] Following the advice of New Zealand running coach Arthur Lydiard he said that focusing on distance work would improve his speed, rather than the inverse speed training favoured by his contemporaries. Demonstrating this philosophy, he ran personal bests for the 1500 metres and the 5000 metres in September, timing 3:50.51 minutes and 13:58.62 minutes at a Nittai University meeting.[16]

His fastest marathon race of the year was 2:10:29 hours for sixth place at the Fukuoka Marathon.[17] Repeating his schedule from the previous year, he ran in Hofu two weeks later and this time he took first place. His run of 2:10:46 was a record for the shortest period of time between two sub 2:11 marathons by any runner. Responding to questions about his frequent racing, he said that he wanted "to find out whether the common sense of the running world is really any kind of sense at all".[18]

The organisers of the 2013 Egyptian Marathon agreed to pay his travel expenses for the January race, but Kawauchi missed his flight after arriving at the airport without his passport. He decided to pay 800,000 yen (US$9,000) for a replacement flight – an amount that equated to a quarter of his yearly salary.[19] The decision paid off as he reached the starting line for the marathon and won with a time of 2:12:24 – the fastest ever for a race in Egypt.[20] Less than three weeks later he ran at the Beppu-Ōita Marathon and he reached the top of the Japanese rankings by winning the race in a personal best of 2:08:15 hours, breaking Gert Thys's 17-year course record in the process. In spite of the lengthy races, his passion was not dimmed: "after 21 Marathon runs, I can now say with confidence how fun Marathon running can be".[21] He saw off a number of professional runners at the Kumanichi 30 km Road Race two weeks later, finishing in 1:29:31 hours – another course record and personal best time.[22] The race organisers said a 30,000 increase in spectators that year was due to Kawauchi's popularity with the Japanese public – the runner had received invitations to over 100 races.[23]

He broke his personal best by one second with a fourth-place finish at the Seoul International Marathon.[24] Cold conditions at the Nagano Marathon put a stop to an attempt to be the first person to run three sub-2:09 marathons in consecutive months, but he still managed to win the race – the first Japanese winner since 1999.[25] He equalled Nicholas Manza's course record to win the Gold Coast Marathon in July.[26]


  • marathon results
Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  Japan
2009 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Oita, Japan 20th Marathon 2:19:26
2009 Tokyo Marathon Tokyo, Japan 19th Marathon 2:18:18
2009 Fukuoka International Marathon Fukuoka, Japan 13th Marathon 2:17:33
2010 Tokyo Marathon Tokyo, Japan 4th Marathon 2:12:36
2010 Fukuoka International Marathon Fukuoka, Japan 10th Marathon 2:17:56
2011 Tokyo Marathon Tokyo, Japan 3rd Marathon 2:08:37
2011 Daegu World Championships Marathon Daegu, South Korea 18th Marathon 2:16:11
2011 Osaka Marathon Osaka, Japan 4th Marathon 2:14:31
2011 Fukuoka International Marathon Fukuoka, Japan 3rd Marathon 2:09:57
2011 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Hōfu, Japan 2nd Marathon 2:12:33
2012 Tokyo Marathon Tokyo, Japan 14th Marathon 2:12:51
2012 Kasumigaura Marathon Kasumigaura, Japan 1st Marathon 2:22:38
2012 Düsseldorf Marathon Düsseldorf, Germany 8th Marathon 2:12:58
2012 Gold Coast Marathon Gold Coast, Australia 4th Marathon 2:13:26
2012 Hokkaido Marathon Sapporo, Japan 1st Marathon 2:18:38
2012 Sydney Marathon Sydney, Australia 1st Marathon 2:11:52
2012 Chiba Aqualine Marathon Chiba, Japan 1st Marathon 2:17:48
2012 Fukuoka International Marathon Fukuoka, Japan 6th Marathon 2:10:29
2012 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Hofu, Japan 1st Marathon 2:10:46
2013 Luxor Marathon Luxor, Egypt 1st Marathon 2:12:24
2013 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Oita, Japan 1st Marathon 2:08:15
2013 Seoul International Marathon Seoul, South Korea 4th Marathon 2:08:14 (PB)
2013 Nagano Marathon Nagano, Japan 1st Marathon 2:14:27
2013 Chitose Marathon Chitose, Japan 1st Marathon 2:18:29
2013 Gold Coast Marathon Gold Coast, Australia 1st Marathon 2:10:01
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 18th Marathon 2:15:35
2013 Melbourne Marathon Melbourne, Australia 2nd Marathon 2:11:40
2013 New York City Marathon New York City, U.S.A. 11th Marathon 2:12:29
2013 Fukuoka International Marathon Fukuoka, Japan 3rd Marathon 2:09:05
2013 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Hofu, Japan 2nd Marathon 2:09:15
2014 Kumamotojo Marathon Kumamoto, Japan 1st Marathon 2:10:14
2014 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Ōtsu, Japan 4th Marathon 2:10:38
2014 Saga Sakura Marathon Saga, Japan 1st Marathon 2:13:02
2014 Tokushima Marathon Tokushima, Japan 1st Marathon 2:15:25
2014 Hamburg Marathon Hamburg, Germany 9th Marathon 2:09:36
2014 Chitose Marathon Chitose, Japan 1st Marathon 2:15:57
2014 Gold Coast Marathon Gold Coast, Australia 3rd Marathon 2:11:27
2014 City to Surf Marathon Perth, Australia 1st Marathon 2:12:55
2014 Asian Games Incheon, South Korea 3rd Marathon 2:12:42
2014 New York City Marathon New York City, U.S.A. 11th Marathon 2:16:41
2014 Fukuchiyama Marathon Fukuchiyama, Japan 1st Marathon 2:12:59
2014 Naha Marathon Naha, Japan 1st Marathon 2:13:43
2014 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Hofu, Japan 1st Marathon 2:09:46
2015 Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon Ibusuki, Japan 1st Marathon 2:24:10
2015 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon Nobeoka, Japan 8th Marathon 2:15:16
2015 Kochi Ryoma Marathon Kochi, Japan 1st Marathon 2:15:06
2015 Seoul International Marathon Seoul, South Korea 16th Marathon 2:13:33
2015 Zurich Marathon Zurich, Switzerland 2nd Marathon 2:12:12
2015 Kurobe Meisui Marathon Kurobe, Japan 1st Marathon 2:17:58
2015 Gold Coast Marathon Gold Coast, Australia 8th Marathon 2:16:23
2015 City to Surf Marathon Perth, Australia 1st Marathon 2:16:23
2015 Cape Town Marathon Cape Town, South Africa 9th Marathon 2:16:33
2015 Iwate Kitakami Marathon Kitakami, Japan 1st Marathon 2:13:21
2015 New York City Marathon New York City, United States 6th Marathon 2:13:29
2015 Fukuoka International Marathon Fukuoka, Japan 8th Marathon 2:12:48
2015 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Hofu, Japan 2nd Marathon 2:12:24
2016 Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon Ibusuki, Japan 1st Marathon 2:15:14
2016 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Ōtsu, Japan 7th Marathon 2:11:53
2016 Wanjinshi Marathon New Taipei City, Taiwan 2nd Marathon 2:14:12
2016 Zurich Marathon Zurich, Switzerland 1st Marathon 2:12:03
2016 Gold Coast Marathon Gold Coast, Australia 2nd Marathon 2:09:01
2016 Berlin Marathon Berlin, Germany 13th Marathon 2:11:03
2016 Porto Marathon Porto, Portugal 2nd Marathon 2:14:32
2016 Fukuoka International Marathon Fukuoka, Japan 3rd Marathon 2:09:11
2016 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Hofu, Japan 3rd Marathon 2:12:45
2017 Ehime Marathon Ehime, Japan 1st Marathon 2:09:54
2017 Daegu Marathon Daegu, South Korea 6th Marathon 2:13:04
2017 Prague Marathon Prague, Czech Republic 6th Marathon 2:10:13
2017 Stockholm Marathon Stockholm, Sweden 6th Marathon 2:14:04
2017 Gold Coast Marathon Gold Coast, Australia 3rd Marathon 2:09:18
2017 World Championships London, United Kingdom 9th Marathon 2:12:19
2017 Oslo Marathon Oslo, Norway 1st Marathon 2:15:58
2017 Betsukai Pilot Marathon Betsukai, Hokkaido 1st Marathon 2:13:43
  • non-marathon results
Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  Japan
2010 Mari Tanigawa Half Marathon Tokyo, Japan 1st Half marathon 1:06:49
2011 Mari Tanigawa Half Marathon Tokyo, Japan 3rd Half marathon 1:06:40
2012 Mari Tanigawa Half Marathon Tokyo, Japan 2nd Half marathon 1:06:19
2012 Yaizu Half Marathon Yaizu, Japan 1st Half marathon 1:03:48
2012 Oki Ultra Marathon Oki, Japan 1st 50 km ultramarathon 2:51:45

Personal bests[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Yuki Kawauchi, Citizen Marathon Runner". Wall Street Journal. June 14, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  2. ^ "Kawauchi downplays Olympic shot". Japan Times. February 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  3. ^ Larner, Brett (2012-09-16). Kawauchi 2:11:52 CR in Sydney For Second Marathon Win in 3 Weeks. Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  4. ^ 川内 優輝 Yuki Kawauchi. JAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  5. ^ a b c Yuk Kawauchi[permanent dead link]. Tilastopaja. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  6. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2010-02-28). Beating horrendous conditions, Fujiwara and Biktimirova collect Tokyo Marathon wins. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  7. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2010-12-05). Beating the sun and heat, Gharib takes Fukuoka victory. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  8. ^ Larner, Brett (2012-02-05). Kisorio Wins Deepest-Ever Marugame International Half-Marathon. Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  9. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2011-02-27). Mekonnen triumphs in Tokyo in 2:07:35. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  10. ^ “Blue-Collar” Runner Kawauchi Collapses In 50K. Competitor (2011-06-21). Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  11. ^ 2011 World Championship Marathon: Abel Kirui Repeats as Champion. Lets Run (2011-09-04). Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  12. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2011-12-04). Running in his debut, Ndambiri triumphs in Fukuoka. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  13. ^ Larner, Brett (2012-12-18). Bat-Ochir and Kawauchi Duel at Hofu Yomiuri Marathon (updated). Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  14. ^ Larner, Brett (2012-02-27). Kawauchi, 14th in 2:12:51: "I Do Not Think I Will be Picked" for Olympics; Shaves Head. Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  15. ^ Larner, Brett (2012-06-18). Kawauchi 2:51:45 CR at Okinoshima 50 km Ultra . Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  16. ^ Larner, Brett (2012-09-23). Kawauchi Runs Double 1500 m and 5000 m PBs, Targets 1500 m at 2013 National Championships. Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  17. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2012-12-02). 2:06:58 win for Gitau in Fukuoka. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  18. ^ Larner, Brett (2012-12-16). Kawauchi Wins Hofu in 2:10:46 Two Weeks After 2:10:29 in Fukuoka, Hosaka Gets Age 63 World Record. Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  19. ^ Gambaccini, Peter (2013-01-17). 2:08 Marathoner Pays 3 Months' Salary to Travel to Race. Runner's World. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  20. ^ Kawauchi Wins Egyptian Marathon Despite Travel Snafu. Runner's World (2013-01-13). Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
  21. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2013-02-03). Kawauchi clocks course record in Beppu-Oita Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-25.
  22. ^ Larner, Brett (2013-02-17). Shitara Sets Collegiate National Record, Ito and Kawauchi Blaze Fast 30 km Times in Ome and Kumamoto. Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-25.
  23. ^ Larner, Brett (2012-02-18). Kawauchi Challenges Kashiwabara to Race Him Next Year in Ome . Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-25.
  24. ^ Chepkwony, Chepchirchir complete first Kenyan double at Seoul International Marathon. IAAF (2013-03-17). Retrieved on 2013-03-19.
  25. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2013-04-21). Kawauchi and Puchkova win snowy Nagano Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-04-22.
  26. ^ Johnson, Len (2013-07-07). Course records for Akaba and Kawauchi at Gold Coast Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-07-29.

External links[edit]