Boston marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi looks to turn pro for Olympic dream

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If it was the weather that stole the headlines at the Boston Marathon, then it was men’s winner Yuki Kawauchi who captured people’s hearts.

Now, the 31-year-old Japanese star has announced his aim to give up his job as a high school administrator and commit to running professionally from the end of the year.

“The No. 1 reason is that I want to compete at the global level… I haven’t improved my personal best time in five years. I need to change my environment.” – Kawauchi to reporters at Tokyo Narita airport.

Kawauchi’s current schedule does seem to be working quite well, with four marathon wins in the first four months of 2018.

But with a job that prevents him from taking sponsorship deals, he competes as an amateur and has to provide his own funding.

Victory in Boston, and a desire to compete in the Olympics in his home nation, mean it’s time to take things more seriously.

And he plans to put the $150,000 prize money from Monday’s race towards being a full-time pro.

“It really helps that my financial worries are gone,” he said.



The attitude of the so-called ‘citizen runner’ is what sets him apart from the rest of the field.

He dressed as a panda and still finished second at one event.

And look at him giving out ‘high fives’ here.



Defending champion Geoffrey Kirui was overtaken by Kawauchi in difficult weather in the last two miles of the race.

Victory was achieved with a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 58 seconds.

Toshihiko Seko was the last Japanese winner in 1987.


Kawauchi represented Japan at the IAAF World Championships, has never been to an Olympic Games.

Now he has the chance to go all out to qualify and compete at Tokyo 2020.

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Author: Ed Knowles
Olympic Channel podcast host. PyeongChang 2018 survivor.