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translated and edited by Brett Larner
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Marathoner Yoshimi Ozaki (28, Team Daiichi Seimei) will employ a secret weapon in this weekend's World Championships women's marathon in Berlin: the honey of the giant killer hornet suzumebachi. The honey, which Ozaki received from one of her trainers, has been produced by the Fujiwara bee farm in Iwate Prefecture for over 108 years. 500 g costs around $100. In addition to providing energy, the honey reduces the sensation of muscle fatigue during strenuous exercise. "It tastes very rich and is really nutritious," said Ozaki. "I'll be using it to give my body back its energy in the second half of the race. It was pretty effective in training." Ozaki will dissolve the honey into her sports drink and water bottles in hopes that it will convey the power of the suzumebachi, which can fly 100 km per day at speeds reaching 40 km/hr, and give her the energy needed to win.
Ozaki injured her back in the spring and had to take time off from training, but in May she began working out again in Boulder, Colorado. Her condition improved and her form returned, and Ozaki was able to take in everything on the training menu. "I'm in good shape," she said. Her coach, 1991 World Championships women's marathon silver medalist Sachiko Yamashita (44), commented, "The person who gives it 100% of their ability will win. Our goal? A better finishing position than mine."
Ozaki watched the women's 10000 m on TV and was impressed by the performance of Yurika Nakamura, one of her main rivals for the 2012 London Olympics marathon team. "She said, 'I'm going to finish in the top eight as a step toward the London Olympics,' then she went and did it. That's amazing," Ozaki said of Nakamura's performance. "It gives me motivation to work harder too. I'm tenacious and I'll be sticking up front with every loop of the marathon course."