translated by Brett Larner
Athens Olympics marathon gold medalist and national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) talked to reporters at the 55th Kansai Jitsugyodan T&F Championships, held May 13-15 at Tokushima's Pocari Sweat Stadium. Making a comeback from long-term injury at last December's National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships. she suffered a stress fracture in her left ankle which left her sidelined again. We talked to her about her injury and her timeline for recovery.
How is your leg?
The bone is totally healed and it doesn't hurt at all. Recovery went smoothly, and from the beginning of March I've been back to training seriously. Right now I'm building a base of 20 km runs and am back up to the 1000 km a month level. I'm still feeling on-track for a full comeback.
When do you think you'll be back to racing?
I don't have any solid plans yet but I'd like to try a half-marathon sometime this summer. I don't want to be impatient, so when it's time to work I want to do it seriously and when it's time to back off I want to do that just as seriously. Also in terms of balancing my training and my daily life, I want to keep that on-off pattern. I want to get to the point where after the race I can feel like I ran it well.
You're here in Tokushima Prefecture this time to help raise funds for disaster relief efforts in the northeast.
After the earthquake I wondered what I could do myself to help the victims. I'm grateful that the organizers of the meet helped make it possible for me to be here today to do work toward that end. It's important that all of us, the athletes who are here in the stadium today, participate from the heart. The sooner I make a comeback the sooner I can run from the heart too, and I hope that that will help give inspiration to the people who need it.
In 2004 you ran in the Tokushima Ekiden as an invited athlete. Could you give us a message for all your fans here in Tokushima?
The first time I came to Tokushima was for a training camp in 2001. I've been here at least ten times since then, so for me it's a place full of memories. I'm very disappointed that I wasn't able to run here today but I want to come back and run here again once I'm fully ready.
Mizuki Noguchi - Born in Mie Prefecture, age 32
At the 2005 Berlin Marathon Noguchi set the Japanese and Asian marathon record of 2:19:12, a mark which still makes her the all-time third-fastest woman. Including her gold medal at the Athens Olympics she has won five of her six marathons, her sole loss a silver medal at the 2003 World Championships. She has largely stayed out of the public eye since her injury at December's National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships.