If you haven’t already seen Hideki Kinoshita a.k.a. RunKino at a race, you most likely will in the near future. This marathon runner is all over the place – running races, pacing friends, raising money for charities, offering giveaways to his fans, you name it. And for the month of May, Kino is the FIRST EVER Headsweats Athlete of the Month! Below, he answers our questions on how he became a runner, why racing is such an important part of his life, and what’s in store for him next.
1. How long have you been a runner?
I ran my first race in June 2007, but it was a “one and done” type deal. It was a New York Road Runners 4 mile race for the first ever Japan Day in Central Park, but I found it so hard that I did not want to run another one. After cheering for a couple friends at the 2007 NYC Marathon in November, I caught the running bug and joined my first running club and started training for races. That is when I became a “runner.”
2. When & where did you run your first marathon?
I ran my first marathon a year later at the 2008 Yonkers Marathon on 9/21/2008 in Yonkers, NY. It is the second oldest existing marathon. The oldest is Boston. Yonkers is known as a very hilly course used by veterans to train for target fall races like Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia. The cutoff was 5 hours, and I finished in 5:00:15. Luckily, the RD did not cut me off. If I had been cut off and my first marathon was a DNF, who knows how I would have felt? I might have quit after that.
3. What’s the key to your training success?
The key to my training success is to focus on a reason to motivate myself to put on my running shoes and go out the door to run at 7am in the morning or late at night, when I could be sound asleep. My current focus is to improve my marathon PR time so I can BQ and enter the 2014 Boston Marathon, and run it to honor the victims of the bombings.
When I start to make excuses to myself not to run, I just think of four names: Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, & Sean Collier. When I think of their sacrifice, it puts everything into perspective and I quit making excuses and go out and run. Any pain I feel during races, I try to suck up because I am one of the lucky ones to have survived Boston unscathed. I feel lucky to just be alive. Running is a celebration of life, and I no longer take it for granted. There are so many people who aren’t able to run, so those of us who can are very fortunate.
My good friend Justin Wood and I have kicked off a fundraiser for The Boston Foundation, to help the city out. I am currently training harder than I ever have, typically logging 60 to 100 miles a week, in order to BQ. I recently lowered my marathon PR to 3:15:12 at the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon in Minnesota on 5/11/2013. Here is our fundraising site, in case anyone want to take a look at it: http://www.crowdrise.com/BostonMarathon2014
4. What’s your favorite running gear?
My favorite running gear, from head to toe, is: a Headsweats Supervisor (I own several with various logos on them), Phiten Titanium Necklace, whatever charity jersey I am representing, a SPIbelt to pin my bib onto and carry my gels, 2XU compression shorts, RaceReady Long Distance Shorts for ultras, Phiten X30 Titanium Compression Calf Sleeves, injinji Midweight Mini-Crew Perfomance Toesocks, & inov-8 X-Lite 155 shoes for pavement or Hoka One One Bondi B shoes for trails.
5. What’s the funniest/strangest thing to happen to you at a race?
When I ran the 2012 LA Marathon, I ran a fast first half in 1:36, but then began suffering in the second half, which took me 2:01, finishing the race in 3:37:00. It’s not too shabby of a time, but in the last half mile, I was outkicked in the end by a 20 year old guy wearing a full body Gingerbread Man outfit from the movie Shrek. It was really embarrassing because I am usually the one outkicking people to the finish line. The guy blew past me and I just couldn’t keep up with him. It was a combination of him being fast and me bonking badly. He finished in 3:33:42.
6. What charities do you support?
I have raised close to $70,000 for a number of charities. Aside from The Boston Foundation, which I previously mentioned, I also continue to run and fundraise for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), Back on My Feet (BoMF), and the Mount Sinai Medical Center’s WTC Health Program. To learn more about my fundraising endeavors, please visit my fundraising sites below.
Boston Marathon Relief Fund: http://www.crowdrise.com/BostonMarathon2014
PanCAN Charity Fundraiser: http://tinyurl.com/RunKinoPanCAN
Back on My Feet NYC Fundraiser: http://tinyurl.com/RunKinoBoMFNYC
WTC Health Program Fundraiser: https://philanthropy.mountsinai.org/kino
7. Let us know any races you have completed & upcoming races – are you training others or is it for yourself?
Wow, I just ran my 135th lifetime marathon / ultramarathon, so there are too many races to list. In the past 3 weekends, I ran 4 marathons and a 50K ultra in 5 different states. Besides the BQ goal, I am finishing up a goal to run a sub-4 hour marathon in all 50 states. I have 2 states left and hope to finish them off this weekend at the Colfax Marathon in Denver, CO on 5/19 and then at the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, VT on 5/26. To see my list of sub-4 states, visit: http://www.runkino.com/p/50sub4.html
For my marathon and ultra history, visit: http://www.runkino.com/p/history.html & http://www.marathonmaniacsdb.com/Maniacs/MyMarathons.asp?ManiacId=1382
For my ever evolving upcoming marathon and ultra schedule, visit: http://www.runkino.com/p/schedule.html
I have begun to pace others in races, as a way to pay it forward from the numerous people who have paced me at races in the past like Marco Cheung, Mike Moschitta, Wayne Bailey, Derrick Tsang, Rick Thiounn, Dave Carlsson, and Emily Hansen. Without these caring folks, I would have never achieved my first sub-4 race, my 50th state marathon in Hawaii in a sub-4 time, and 100 miler finishes in Ontario, Canada and in North Carolina. My first official pacing assignment was the 2013 New Jersey Marathon, in which I teamed up with pacer veteran Otto Lam as the 4:00 pacers. I finished in 3:59:58 and he finished in exactly 4:00:00, so if you average our times, it comes out to 3:59:59, which is a perfect pacing job for the 4 hour group. I couldn’t believe it.
I can’t claim to “coach” any individual runner, but I do encourage others to build up their miles with me and join me at marathons and ultras to prepare for goal races and 100 milers. Many of these friends end up qualifying to become fellow Marathon Maniacs. They know who they are, and they (along with their significant others and parents) jokingly continue to call me a “bad influence.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this Q&A! I hope you try out Headsweats brand athletic headwear and see for yourself what a great piece of apparel it is and how it can help you perform to your potential. It sure has helped me over these past few years of distance running.
Hideki “Kino” Kinoshita