Remember Yuki Kawauchi?
The Japanese long-distance runner was the unexpected winner of the Boston Marathon earlier this year.
He beat world champion Geoffrey Kirui to do so. And he’s still an amateur — he works as a high-school administrator.
So what next for someone who’s just produced such a shock win?
A 71 km ultra-marathon may not be the natural answer for most people. Unless your name is Yuki Kawauchi.
— Dogsorcaravan (@Dogsorcaravan) May 19, 2018
Kawauchi keeping busy
While the 31-year-old might have been forgiven for taking time off running to concentrate on his day job, he’s continued competing in meets across Japan.
Since his Boston win on 16 April, he’s taken on five races at half-marathon distance (clocking better than 1:07 in all of them).
That included two runs on consecutive days in the first week of May, the second of which he won.
— たに (@ta_123taka) May 5, 2018
Then came his big test.
Kawauchi ran the Nobeyama Ultramarathon in preparation for the Stockholm Marathon.
Yes, that’s right — he ran a 71 km race to train for one over 42 km.
According to Japan Running News, it was the longest distance he’d ever run competitively.
And he smashed it!
Kawauchi’s reported marathon split time was a very respectable 2:39.
The ‘Citizen Runner’, as he is nicknamed for his amateur status and full-time job, looked like he might break the 4:30 barrier at one stage.
And although he slowed towards the end, he still easily blew the Nobeyama 71 km course record of 4:48:13 out of the water.
Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi wins Nobeyama 71k Ultra in 4:41:55, breaking CR by >6 min. pic.twitter.com/3XdcqwVfYx
— Japan Running News (@JRNHeadlines) May 20, 2018
An impressive 4:41:55, at an average pace of 3:58 per km.
That was nearly a full 30 minutes ahead of the runner-up.
— Dogsorcaravan (@Dogsorcaravan) May 20, 2018
Kawauchi holds the Guinness world record for most marathons completed in under 2:20 with 79.
His name is also next to the entry for the most completed in under 2:12, having done that 25 times.
He has the chance to add to those numbers with at least five more marathons pencilled in his calendar this year.
The Stockholm Marathon is his next immediate target on 2 June while the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label race, follows on 1 July.
Incredibly, he’s also scheduled to take the start line in a 50 km ultramarathon between the two.
While he’s represented Japan at World Championships, he’s never qualified for an Olympic Games.
His ultimate aim is to make the Japanese team for his home Games at Tokyo 2020.
That means turning professional after this season, which will allow him to accept corporate sponsors.
The Yuki Kawauchi story is far from over.