Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kinukawa Wins Shanghai Half Marathon - Looks Toward Olympic Marathon

translated and edited by Brett Larner

5000 m national champion Megumi Kinukawa (22, Team Mizuno) won the Dec. 4 Shanghai International Half Marathon in a PB of 1:10:22.  "I give that 100 out of 100," she said after the race.  "I think it was good."  With an early-morning start, uphill in the first half and sharp curves in the middle section of the course it was an excellent run on a difficult course.  "Breaking my PB by exactly 2 minutes [on a course like this] gives me a lot of confidence.

Kinukawa's appearances on the track at this summer's Daegu World Championships ended unhappily.  "I really blew it," she said, "but that failure has made me stronger mentally and physically."  Takao Watanabe, her coach since her days at Sendai Ikuei H.S., did not travel to Shanghai with her.  "I think doing this race 'solo' also helped toughen me up."

Kinukawa's run means that she will likely be looking to run in one of the two remaining women's Olympic selection races.  "That's something I have to talk about [with Watanabe] ," she said cautiously, but added with the kind of positivity she hasn't shown for a long time, "Whether I run the marathon or on the track I want to become strong enough to be competitive internationally."

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