translated by Brett Larner
Mizuki Noguchi at the Zevenheuvelenloop 2011 press conference, courtesy of Losse Veter.
At a Nov. 18 press conference in Nijmegen, the Netherlands ahead of Sunday's 7 Hills Loop 15 km road race, Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) told reporters, "This race is a step up toward January's Osaka International Women's Marathon. I hope to run like the good old me is back."
The race is the second of her comeback. Recapturing the feeling of competition is one of her central themes. At last month's West Japan Corporate Women's Ekiden her 5 km split was faster than her 5000 m PB. After showing that her speed is still as good as back in her glory days, she slowed in the second half of the stage. At 7 Hills, she said, "I want to hold back in the first half and then see how hard I can push the second half. I hope that this will be a good race plan for visualizing the marathon."
Noguchi has been training at altitude in Boulder, Colorado since early November. The camp has gone smoothly, with two 30 km runs on the books. 7 Hills will be her first solo race since the May, 2008 Sendai International Half Marathon. Doing her homework one task at a time, Noguchi is drawing closer and closer to Osaka.