The “Citizen Runner,” as he was formerly known, has officially left his day job and gone pro. Yuki Kawauchi, the 2018 Boston Champion, will return to defend his title in one week’s time, but this year he’s got ASICS behind him.

RELATED: Yuki Kawauchi’s 2018 year in review

In 2018 alone, Kawauchi ran 42 races–nearly one a week–and one of those was his Boston win. The 32-year-old told The Japan Times that he started thinking about going pro in 2017 following the World Championships in London, where he placed ninth in the marathon. He told The Times that he’s excited to run with less pressure than before. He explained that it was difficult to manage being a good employee and a good runner at the same time.

Kawauchi now has a Twitter account. He goes by the handle @kawauchi2019 and tweets primarily about running results. This year in Boston the Japanese runner will face a very strong lineup that includes Lawrence Cherono and Geoffrey Kirui. Cherono is the 2018 Amsterdam Marathon champion, where he ran his personal best of 2:04:06, and Kirui is the reigning marathon world champion, 2017 Boston champion and the 2018 Boston runner-up. Both men are from Kenya, but Cherono has always been a road runner, whereas Kirui started on the track. Cherono comes in with the faster personal best, but Kirui is on the rise and is certainly in contention for the win.

RELATED: Head-to-head battles you won’t want to miss this spring

Other runners to watch are 2018 TCS New York City Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa, 2016 Boston champion Lemi Berhanu and 2012 Boston champion Wesley Korir.

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