Kawauchi (far right) at the 2011 Osaka Marathon
5 March 1987 |
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||62 kg (137 lb; 9.8 st)|
|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. 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.
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 his 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, Toshiki and Koki Kawauchi, who are also marathon runners.
Born in Setagaya, Tokyo, 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.
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. 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. Despite this improvement he was further down the field at the Fukuoka race, finishing tenth with 2:17:54 hours.
Rise to the top level
Kawauchi improved his half marathon best to 1:02:40 at the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon in February 2011, finishing inside the top ten. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. Kawauchi's return to Okinoshima produced a course record victory of 2:51:45 at the 50 km race. 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. 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.
His fastest marathon race of the year was 2:10:29 hours for sixth place at the Fukuoka Marathon. 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".
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. 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. 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". 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. 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.
He equalled his personal best exactly with a fourth place finish at the Seoul International Marathon. 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. He equalled Nicholas Manza's course record to win the Gold Coast Marathon in July.
- marathon results
|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||Fukuoka International Marathon||Fukuoka, Japan||3rd||Marathon||2:09:57|
|2011||Hofu Yomiuri Marathon||Hōfu, Japan||2nd||Marathon||2:12:33|
|2012||Kasumigaura Marathon||Kasumigaura, Japan||1st||Marathon||2:22:38|
|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|
|2013||Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon||Oita, Japan||1st||Marathon||2:08:15|
|2013 March 17||Seoul International Marathon||Seoul, South Korea||4th||Marathon||2:08:14 (PB)|
|2013||Gold Coast Airport 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||Fukuoka International Marathon||Fukuoka, Japan||3rd||Marathon||2:09:05|
|2014||Asian Games||Incheon, South Korea||3rd||Marathon||2:12:42|
|2015||Zurich Marathon||Zurich, Switzerland||2nd||Marathon||2:12:12|
- non-marathon results
|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|
- 1500 metres - 3:50.51 min (2012)
- 5000 metres - 13:58.62 min (2012)
- 10,000 metres - 29:02.33 min (2010)
- Half marathon - 62:18 min (2012)
- 30 km - 1:29:31 hrs (2013)
- Marathon - 2:08:14 hrs (2013)
- 50 km ultramarathon - 2:47:27 hrs (2014)
- "Yuki Kawauchi, Citizen Marathon Runner". Wall Street Journal. June 14, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "Kawauchi downplays Olympic shot". Japan Times. February 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- 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.
- 川内 優輝 Yuki Kawauchi. JAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- Yuk Kawauchi. Tilastopaja. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- Nakamura, Ken (2010-02-28). Beating horrendous conditions, Fujiwara and Biktimirova collect Tokyo Marathon wins. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- Nakamura, Ken (2010-12-05). Beating the sun and heat, Gharib takes Fukuoka victory. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- Larner, Brett (2012-02-05). Kisorio Wins Deepest-Ever Marugame International Half-Marathon. Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- Nakamura, Ken (2011-02-27). Mekonnen triumphs in Tokyo in 2:07:35. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- “Blue-Collar” Runner Kawauchi Collapses In 50K. Competitor (2011-06-21). Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- 2011 World Championship Marathon: Abel Kirui Repeats as Champion. Lets Run (2011-09-04). Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- Nakamura, Ken (2011-12-04). Running in his debut, Ndambiri triumphs in Fukuoka. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- Larner, Brett (2012-12-18). Bat-Ochir and Kawauchi Duel at Hofu Yomiuri Marathon (updated). Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- 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.
- Larner, Brett (2012-06-18). Kawauchi 2:51:45 CR at Okinoshima 50 km Ultra . Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- 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.
- Nakamura, Ken (2012-12-02). 2:06:58 win for Gitau in Fukuoka. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- 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.
- Gambaccini, Peter (2013-01-17). 2:08 Marathoner Pays 3 Months' Salary to Travel to Race. Runner's World. Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- Kawauchi Wins Egyptian Marathon Despite Travel Snafu. Runner's World (2013-01-13). Retrieved on 2013-02-24.
- Nakamura, Ken (2013-02-03). Kawauchi clocks course record in Beppu-Oita Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-25.
- 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.
- Larner, Brett (2012-02-18). Kawauchi Challenges Kashiwabara to Race Him Next Year in Ome . Japan Running News. Retrieved on 2013-02-25.
- Chepkwony, Chepchirchir complete first Kenyan double at Seoul International Marathon. IAAF (2013-03-17). Retrieved on 2013-03-19.
- Nakamura, Ken (2013-04-21). Kawauchi and Puchkova win snowy Nagano Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-04-22.
- Johnson, Len (2013-07-07). Course records for Akaba and Kawauchi at Gold Coast Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-07-29.