translated and edited by Brett Larner
2004 Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) appeared in Ome, Tokyo on Apr. 17 to give a talk as part of her coach Nobuyuki Fujita's nationwide 'Fujita Running Academy' program. Speaking of her future, Noguchi revealed that she is still undergoing medical treatment as she told the audience, "I'm still looking toward the day when I'm completely healed, but I can't make any concrete plans."
After withdrawing from last summer's Beijing Olympics with an injury to her left leg, Noguchi had begun training for a comeback race at September's Berlin Marathon. However, the pain has returned and whether she will be able to appear in Berlin as planned is unknown. Coach Fujita said, "Things aren't feeling perfect yet, so right now Mizuki has completely stopped running. Getting 100% healthy is the goal. There's no cure for [the inflammation Noguchi is suffering in her leg], so we just have to wait for time to take care of it."
Along with massage and other treatment, Noguchi is doing regular aerobic cross-training on a cycle and in the pool to keep her overall fitness, but Noguchi herself admitted, "It's gotten to the point where all I can do is a lot of swimming. This is the first time I've ever had a long time off for a single injury, and to be honest there have been times when I've thought about quitting. I just want to get back on my feet without another relapse and I'm not going to run until everything is back to normal -- if I set any goals other than that I'll just start running again. Times like now when I can't run are the absolute worst."
In response to a question from a fan in the audience about her withdrawal from Beijing Noguchi replied, "We put too much unnecessary stress on one of my legs. I want to apologize to everyone, and I promise that I will keep trying for the London Olympics." Asked for her feelings about the Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki setting a new national record of 3086 hits, the women's marathon national record said, "We were travelling so I didn't get to see it." Coach Fujita weighed in, adding, "Harimoto, the one whose record Ichiro broke, was the same year in school as me."