Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (32) is on the entry list her corporate team Sysmex has submitted for the six-stage, 42.195 km West Japan Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships to be held Oct. 24 in Fukuoka. Noguchi withdrew from the Beijing Olympics shortly before the race after sustaining an injury to her left leg. Should she run the ekiden it will be her first race since winning the Sendai International Half Marathon two years and five months ago.*
Noguchi's condition has recovered to the point that she is able to handle 50 km a day of jogging, but she is not yet in shape to be able to do serious marathon training. Noguchi's trainer Hisakazu Hirose commented, "We can't say yet whether or not she will run the ekiden." Until the starting list is released on Oct. 23 the likelihood that Noguchi will remain only an alternate for the team is very high.
*Translator's note: Noguchi's last race was the anchor stage of a 4x400 m relay a week after Sendai.