Known as the “Citizen Runner” because he fits in running around a full-time job, Yuki Kawauchi often competes in excess of a dozen marathons every year. Here the three-time World Championship marathon representative for Japan and 2018 Boston Marathon victor explains more about his passion for running.
“After finishing fifth in a school 1500m race as a six-year-old boy my parents believed I could run much faster, so I started to run daily time trials over 1500m. The next year I returned to the 1500m race and placed second – that is the moment my parents realised the importance of daily time trials!
“It took many years for me to truly love running. I ran throughout my school days, although at this point I definitely did not like running because of the frequent injuries I suffered. Instead, I ran because I loved winning and breaking records.
“It was only at university when I was introduced to new training methods, which made me less prone to injury, did I finally start to believe running was fun. Aged 21 and a senior at university, I met a runner who liked running. Up until that point in my life, I’d seriously never met a runner who could say that for sure. It was a big shock for me. I’d seen many runners, like me, who enjoyed winning and breaking records and running to live up to other people’s expectations. However, when I discovered that they were runners who actually liked running, I had to ask, what about me?
“When I read the sentence “I like running” I asked myself again and I found the answer. I had already become a person who enjoys running. After realising this, the stronger I become the more I enjoyed running.
“To me, the best thing about running is through the commonality of this simple action we can help understand one another. For me, I am fortunate to be able to participate in races throughout the world and that I can also share this passion with many people.
“I run because running is my life. I can't imagine a life without running. I have experienced so much and met so many people through running. If I had not run, my life would be very boring. Also, I might have never left Japan and visited many other countries. Running changed me from an introvert to an extrovert personality. Through running, I hope in future to visit many other places throughout the world, that I have not yet seen. Therefore, I keep running.”
Note: Kawauchi plans to finally leave his full-time position in the Saitama prefectural government next March and become a professional runner.
Steve Landells for the IAAF