translated by Brett Larner
The winds of chance are blowing strongly. At the Osaka International Women's Marathon on Jan. 27, Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) failed spectacularly in her highly-anticipated debut marathon. Speaking about this race from her high-altitude training camp in Kunming, China, Takahashi said, "Regardless of what happened in Osaka, I will be running to win in Nagoya with the kind of time nobody will be able to criticize." The Nagoya International Women's Marathon on Mar. 9 is the last of the selection races for the Beijing Olympics team, and is open to question whether Takahashi's feeling about her race are the same in the wake of Osaka.
Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), winner of the bronze medal in the women's marathon at last summer's World Championships, has already been selected for the Beijing team. Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) is very likely to be chosen for on the strength of her course-record victory at November's Tokyo International Women's Marathon, leaving just one more spot. If Fukushi had run a fast time in Osaka then all the spots would have been filled before Nagoya. This scenario did not come to pass. The top Japanese runner in Osaka, 2nd place finisher Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya), ran only 2:25:34 to leave a big chance for Takahashi and the other Nagoya runners.
After spending much of last year doing altitude training in Boulder, Colorado, Takahashi briefly returned to Japan for meetings in Tokyo and Osaka before heading to Kunming. She originally planned to come back to Japan for a short time in January but later raised the pitch of her Nagoya preparations by deciding to remain in Kunming to train without interruption.
Takahashi turns 36 in May, a seasoned veteran who could not qualify for the Athens Olympics. "There is only one thing waiting for me. This will be my last Olympics." The world awaits the final climax of this great runner's career.