translated by Brett Larner
Back to full training for the first time since a left thigh injury knocked her out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, women's marathon national record holder and Athens Olympics marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (32, Team Sysmex) announced on Aug. 26 that she plans to make a return this year with a half marathon.
In July Noguchi went to Sugadaira, Nagano for her first full-effort gasshuku training camp since the injury. She is currently training in Hokkaido together with her teammates, where she has extended her long runs up to the 30 km level. Team Sysmex coach Hisakazu Hirose commented, "She's back to running like her old self. This fall or winter Mizuki will do a half marathon."
Noguchi has not run a race since her victory at the Sendai International Half Marathon on May 11, 2008.* She has been talking discreetly with several domestic and overseas races to find the option best-suited for her comeback. Looking toward the 2012 London Olympics, Noguchi's first major checkpoint will be next summer's World Championships marathon in Daegu, Korea and its domestic selection races January through March next year.
*Translator's note: Noguchi's last race before her injury was actually the anchor leg of a 4 X 400 m relay on May 18, 2008 at the Kansai Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships. Click here for photos.
This isn't the first time Sysmex has announced that Noguchi was ready for a comeback race, but this time they do sound serious. Should Noguchi opt for a domestic half marathon it would likely be November's final running of the Kobe Women's Half Marathon. The only other option would be the Sanyo Women's Road Race in late December.