translated and edited by Brett Larner
2000 Sydney Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and former marathon world record holder Naoko Takahashi (36, Team Phiten) retired from professional running on Oct. 28. Takahashi planned to run three marathons this season, November's Tokyo International Women's Marathon, January's Osaka International Women's Marathon, and March's Nagoya International Women's Marathon, and has been at her training camp in Boulder, Colorado since May in preparation. Despite winning three races during this period, including a course record at the Mt. Evans mountain race in June, Takahashi couldn't meet the targets in her training plan and cancelled the rest of the camp and her three-marathon season, returning to Japan in secret a short time ago. She is scheduled to give a press conference later in the day on Oct. 28 to formally announce her retirement.
Takahashi's coach from her peak era, Yoshio Koide, was interviewed by telephone on Fuji TV's 'Tokudane!' program the morning of the 28th. "I'm completely stunned," Koide commented. "I have no idea what happened." He went on to say that he had just seen Takahashi in Boulder recently and that she had been in very good spirits. "It's a huge shock. She loves running and always said, 'I'm going to run until I'm 50.' She's got to be just worn out."