Yuki Kawauchi: Japan’s Blue-Collar Runner

Yuki Kawauchi has been called Japan's citizen marathoner. Photo: Associated Press

He holds down a full-time job and runs sub-2:09 marathons.

As a Japanese runner, it’s always a big deal to be the first finisher in the Tokyo Marathon. It was an even bigger deal this year when 24-year-old Yuki Kawauchi crossed the line in 2:08:37. Upon doing so, Kawauchi collapsed and was taken to the medical tent.

Kawauchi stood out that day, because he wasn’t like most Japanese elites who are backed by a corporation. Instead, he was an amateur. This means he has a full-time job and pays his own expenses. In America, he would be called a “blue-collar runner”.

In Japan, he’s known as the “citizen marathoner”.

What’s his secret?

Working hard the smart way.

“Working hard for the sake of working hard won’t lead to results,” he says. “You have to be careful of injury, train efficiently, and remember that you are training because you love to run.  I think that an athlete discovers the joy of track when he or she is able to stay injury-free and perform in ways that the athlete wants to.”

For More: The Wall Street Journal

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