translated and edited by Brett Larner
Click here for video of Noguchi training in Boulder and of her arrival at Kansai International Airport.
Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (33, Team Sysmex), arrived back in Japan at Kansai International Airport on Dec. 14 after training at 1600 m elevation in Boulder, Colorado. As she prepares to make a comeback to the marathon at the Jan. 29 Osaka International Women's Marathon in a bid to make the London Olympic team, she declared herself fully fit and recovered. "Everything has gone according to plan," she said. "It was really cold [in Boulder], but Osaka is in January so I think it was good mental training for the race.
Noguchi left Japan on Nov. 1, and apart from a 15 km race in Holland she has spent the whole month and a half since then in intensive training. She appeared bright and cheerful upon her return. In Boulder, for the first time since the August, 2008 left leg injury that kept her out of the Beijing Olympics, Noguchi did a 40 km training run, completing the distance twice. "For the first time since I got injured I finished a 40 km run," she told reporters. "My rhythm was good over the distance, and the thigh concerns I had up until the summer while running were fine. When I ran these longer distances my form was back to what it used to be and my footstrike has straightened out again." After reconfirming her condition, she will decide whether or not to run Sunday's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships in Sendai.
Noguchi will return to Boulder on Dec. 23 to carry out her final preparations for Osaka, her first marathon in over four years. "In the last month of training I want to raise my spirit. From now the goal becomes bringing things to a peak," she said. "Along with distance, speed will become important." Noguchi now enters the final stretch of her comeback road to an Olympic ticket.