What day is it? It’s National Running Day! This is one national holiday we NEVER miss out on. So, to celebrate, we want to give you some free Headsweats. Enter our Fill in the Blank National Running Day contest, and 3 lucky winners will win a custom sublimated visor or hat of their choice.
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
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.
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
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.
Meet Hideki Kinoshita – otherwise known as Kino – Headsweats-sponsored athlete and marathon fanatic. Kino has certainly been busy the past couple of months – competing in the Asheville Marathon in North Carolina, the Lower Potomac River Marathon in Maryland, and the LA Marathon.
“It’s been 4.5 years since my first marathon, and I’ve now run 125 of them in all 50 states & DC, 26 states & DC into my second round, 7 countries, and 4 continents, including 23 ultramarathons, 6 of which were 100 milers. Just when I complete one goal, a new goal pops into mind. First it was 50 States then Titanium (the highest Marathon Maniacs level), and now it’s the 50sub4 Club (a sub-4 hour marathon in all 50 states), 7 Continents, and Boston Qualifying. The fun never stops.”
Why does Kino enjoy endurance running so much? “I enjoy being around other runners. Runners tend to share a laid back outlook and be genuinely kind. I immediately noticed this when I started becoming friends with other long distance runners. I have heard other marathoners and ultra runners making the same remarks countless times. I believe that since runners voluntarily put themselves into and endure high pain threshold situations, this allows them to be better able to empathize with others who are less fortunate. From my experience, runners are an overwhelmingly caring and compassionate group of people. Running also makes me a better person.”
Years Running: 4.5 years (his first marathon was on 2008/09/21)
Favorite Race Distance: The Marathon (26.2mi / 42.2km)
Favorite PR: 2012 Fargo Marathon (Fargo, ND), 3:19:12 (7:36 min/mile)
Favorite Race: Comrades Marathon (56 mi ultra in Durban, South Africa)
Favorite Bling: 50 States Marathon Club – Certified Finisher Plaque
To view his complete profile on Headsweats, click here. This great article on Kino really digs deep – discovering what motivates him to run, his experience, and the different causes he runs for throughout the year.