Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi or ’Citizen Runner’ as he is affectionately known is a modern day phenomenon. Just last weekend he placed a close second at the Gold Coast Marathon running 2:09.01. While this sounds impressive, and it is, he had just two weeks before run a Japanese record for 50km passing through 42.2km along the way in 2:17ish!

One of the highlights of my running career was lining up against Kawauchi in the 2014 Nagoya Half marathon which accompanies the Nagoya Women’s Marathon. I was a part of a sister city exchange organised by Sydney Marathon Race Director and former National Cross Country Champion Wayne Larden. I only did two races in 2014 with the Fernleigh 15 being the other. Both races presented terrific duels with runners I had the upmost respect for, Kawauchi in Nagoya and Aaron Royle in the Fernleigh 15. (Aaron has since been selected in the Australian Olympic Team for Rio in triathlon.)

My one glimmer of being able to match Yuki was that perhaps he might be a bit tired having run Lake Biwa Marathon just 7 days before in 2:10! This was typical Kawauchi who in 2013 had completed 10 marathons in 2:12 or better.  Fortunately for me Yuki was both tired and aggressive and the hour I spent with him running the streets of Nagoya is still a career highlight. Our race was quick early as Yuki demonstrated his wiliness to run hard and then it became a tired tussle as his legs started to feel the affects of so much hard running the week before yet refused to allow me to get ahead. Kawauchi is typical of Japanese runners never give up and will run hard until their bodies refuse to move anymore, indeed I have heard it said that “Yuki eats pain for breakfast”!

As it turned out I was able to sprint while Yuki could not. It turned out to be my only International win and the Japanese officials permitted my to keep the finish ribbon. A nice touch!

I do not have the resilience of Yuki Kawauchi. A marathon like effort needs to be carefully planned and executed. Today was one such run. A 2hr run at a moderate pace with a hard 5k at the end of each hour. This session is a Dick Telford special that he set for me before I ran my marathon personal best back in 2005. Its great because it just touches the type of fatigue experienced in a marathon without the brutal consequences. The workout remains one of my tried and true and today I had a rippn’ good time turning heads as I tore up and down the Fernleigh Track channelling my inner Kawauchi!

If you don’t believe it check out Yuki Kawauchi’s 2016 results – so far! Taken from japanrunningnews.blogspot.com.au by Brett Larner

Jan. 10: Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon, Kagoshima: 2:15:14 – 1st – CR
Jan. 17: Okukuma Road Race half marathon, Kumamoto: 1:04:00 – 2nd
Jan. 31: Okumusashi Ekiden Second Stage (5.1 km), Saitama: 16:45 – 2nd
Feb. 7: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama: 37:36 – 3rd
Feb. 14: Karatsu 10-Miler, Saga: 48:09 – 13th
Feb. 21: Ome 30 km, Tokyo: 1:32:40 – 3rd
Mar. 6: Biwako Mainichi Marathon, Shiga: 2:11:53 – 7th
Mar. 13: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:06:42 – 3rd (wearing a full suit)
Mar. 20: New Taipei City Wanjinshi Marathon, Taiwan: 2:14:12 – 2nd
Mar. 27: Nerima Kobushi Half Marathon, Tokyo: 1:05:32 – 1st
Apr. 2: Kanaguri Memorial Meet 1500 m Heat 1, Kumamoto: 3:54.60 – 6th
Apr. 10: Yaizu Minato Half Marathon, Shizuoka: 1:03:47 – 1st
Apr. 17: Challenge Meet in Kumagaya 1500 m Heat 11, Kumagaya: 3:59.70 – 6th
Apr. 24: Zurich Marathon, Switzerland: 2:12:04 – 1st
Apr. 30: Kawauchi no Sato Kaeru Half Marathon, Fukushima: 1:05:42 – 1st
May 4: Kasukabe Odako 10 km, Saitama – ~33 minutes – official results unavailable
May 8: Sendai International Half Marathon, Miyagi: 1:04:35 – 5th
May 15: Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, Gifu: 1:03:39 – 11th
May 29: Kahoku Shinpo Kinshuko Road Race, Iwate: 1:35:20 – 1st
June 19: Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km, Shimane: 2:44:07 – 1st – NR
June 26: Hakodate Half Marathon, Hokkaido: 1:04:24 – 5th
July 3: Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Australia: 2:09:01 – 2nd

with more to come!