YUKI KAWAUCHI-SAN: THE JAPANESE MACHINE. Many of you might know his name, many no. Today we would like to bring you the story of this FANTASTIC athlete: YUKI KAWAUCHI. He has run 100 Marathons below 2h20minutes and majority of them as a non-professional athlete.

The story of Yuki-San became to be known around 2011 when he finished 3rd at Tokio Marathon with a time of 2h 08min 37sec. finishing as first Japanese and the first of the non professional runners. Since then, he has shown us that sometimes the passion, dedication and sacrifice for this sport is bigger than big sponsors and fantastic records. The story of Yuki-San is full of races and incredible achievements, like having won the 2018 Boston Marathon under the cold and rain (4°C) or being the Japanese record holder for 50 Km with a time of 2 h 44 min 07 sec.

Last weekend Yuki-San has run the Hofu Marathon in 2h 10 min 36 seconds, arriving to the finish line in second position and reaching the record of 100 marathons sub 2hours 20 minutes.

Photo: Yuki Kawauchi @kawauchi2019


Yuki Kawauchi was born on 1987 in Setagaya, special ward in Tokio; and started practicing athletics at a young age. The early death of his father marked his dedication and career from the very beginning, not being able to fully dedicate his energies to running.

Since his university years, he entered in multiple competitions not receiving sponsors attention, neither getting the race fees paid (he paid his own fees until recent years). One of the most interesting quality of this Japanese runner is the frequency he competes, having achieved years, for example, he run 2 marathons under 2hours 9 minutes with just 6 weeks of difference: 2h 08 15 sec (Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, 1st Place) and 2h 08min 14sec (Seoul International Marathon, 4th place) , moreover having run a total of 11 marathons (11th Place New York Marathon 2h 12min 29sec.)and 18 1/2 Marathons that year (2013).

Another of the characteristics of the great “Japanese Machine” is the fact that he can run middle distance races and being competitive like 15000 meters in 3 min 50 or a 1/2 marathon in 1 hr 02 min and a marathon in 2h 11 min during the same season.

Since he started running and obtaining great results, around 2009, he has run at least one marathon in this 10 years below 2h 13min. Yes, you have read it correctly: 11 years in a row running at least one marathon below 2 h 13 min!!!


  • 2009- 2:17:33, Fukuoka.
  • 2010- 2:12:36, Tokio.
  • 2011- 2:08:37, Tokio.
  • 2012- 2:10:29, Fukuoka.
  • 2013- 2:08:14 PB, Seoul.
  • 2014- 2:09:36, Hamburg.
  • 2015- 2:12:12, Zurich.
  • 2016- 2:09:01, Gold Coast.
  • 2017- 2:09:18, Gold Coast.
  • 2018- 2:11:29, Hofu.
  • 2019- 2:09:21, Lake Biwa.
  • 2020- 2:10:35, Hofu

It was not until 2019 that he “officially” became a professional runner and started the sponsorisation wit “Aoi nissai dowa insurance” and with the Japanese brand ASICS and nobody better as him to continue with the dedication and passion for running as the Japanese bran has shown in the last 70 years, since founded by Kihachiro Onitsuka, to make the motto of the brand Anima Sana In Corpore Sana more alive than ever.


In 2011, after finishing the Tokio Marathon in 3rd Place, 2h 08min 37 sec., and exceeding his own expectations Yuki-San won his place to represent the Japanese Team in the World Championships in Athletics Daegu, where he finished on 18th Place but helped the Japanese Teams to achieve the World Championships Silver Medal.

One year later, 2012, he competed in the World Half a Marathon Championships where he finished on 21st Place. After that, in 2013, he represented Japan in the marathon race again in a World Championships in Athletics in Moscow where he finished 18th, but it was not until 2017 in the World Championships in Athletics in London that he achieved his best place in a World Championships by finishing the Marathon in 9th Place with a time of 2h 12min 19 sec.

All these time, he still was a fulltime employee working in a school and not being a professional runner.

Photo credit: @kyohei_0708


In 2018 Yuki Kawauchi run against all the odds, against the 4°C and persistent rain, and against all the other competitors a priori with better PBs as him, however the determination and courage that he has shown during his entire career paid off by crossing the finish line of one of the Majors in the first place: winning in Boston with 2h 15min 54 sec.

Photo credit: @jhboston26

100 MARATHONS SUB 2h 20min

This weekend in the Japanese city of Hofu, Yuki-San achieved the world record of having run 100 marathons below 2h 20 mins!! He finished the race in 2nd Place with a time of 2h 10min 35sec.

However, this was not his first marathon this year. In 2020, before the whole pandemic started, Yuki-San run the Marrakech Marathon, finalizing on 23rd place with a time of 2h 17min 26sec; after that he run the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan ending with 2h 14min 33 sec; later this year he also participated in the Fukuoka International Marathon achieving a time of 2h 13min 59sec.

This year, with the arrival of the global pandemic and all races being suspended, Yuki-San has not been able to run as many competitions as other years, however as soon as it was possible to run again in Japan he started his “tour” again. In the last months, he has been very active in social media, mainly Facebook and Twitter, where he has been sharing the pandemic situation in his country and also some of the trainings and races he has been doing. In the capture below, he showed his disappointment with himself for having run 10.000 m in 30’17” and as he was not happy with it, he went to run 50km in the mountains for 6 hours.

Yuki Kawauchi’s Facebook

So the record he broke the last weekend represented his 4th marathon this year, all of them also under 2h 20 min! Moreover in the last weeks, we have seen Yuki-San running shorter distances like the 5km Fukuoka in 13m59sec, achieving his SB which have  obviously helped him to also achieve his second place in Hofu with 2 h 10 min 35sec.


  • 1500 metres – 3:50.51 (2012)
  • 5000 metres – 13:58.62 (2012)
  • 10,000 metres – 29:02.33 (2010)
  • 10 km – 29:54 (2013)
  • 10 miles – 47:28 (2014)
  • 20 km – 59:17 (2013)
  • Half Marathon – 1:02:18 (2012)
  • 30 km – 1:29:31 (2013)
  • Marathon – 2:08:14 (2013)
  • 50 km – 2:44:07 (2016) NR

It is obvious the love for sports that Yuki-San shows everythime he goes out and compite or anytime he shares any of his trainings in the social media, and even if some scinetics might argue the fact that so many competitions cannot be good, Yuki-San shows other way and anytime the “haters” say is his end, he comes back with a race and a time like this weekend, running again in 2h 10min, almost 10 years running marathons between 2h 08 min and 2h 12 min!!! Ahhhh and many “in between” marathons until achieving 100 marathons under 2h 20min: Long life to Yuki-San!!!!!! ありがとう- Arigatō

Yuki Kawauchi finished 2nd at Hofu Marathon. Photo: @kawauchi2019


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Post by Héctor Rubio for Trailrunningspain.