Skip to main content

Noguchi Ahead of First Marathon in 4 Years, 2 Months: "It's Good to Be Back"

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/news/120122/oth12012219000029-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

In the backdrop to west of Boulder, Colorado are the Rocky Mountains.  Looking at the line of snow tens of thousands of years old painted red by the post-workout evening light, the surge of unexpected feeling is almost enough to bring tears to the eye.  "I can train hard again now," says 2004 Olympic marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex).  "It's good to be back."

The last time Noguchi put on a show of bravado in the marathon was at the Nov. 2007 Tokyo International Women's Marathon, where she set the course record of 2:21:37.  Overcoming a blank slate of four years, two months, Noguchi is now once again ready to stand on the start line and face the full 42.195 km.  This Sunday, Jan. 29 she will race the Osaka International Women's Marathon in search of a ticket to the London Olympics.

Noguchi pulled out from her planned Olympic title defense at the Beijing Olympics after suffering an injury to her left thigh.  Recovery from that injury took her two years and five months.  Thinking herself ready to return, Noguchi began racing again in October, 2010, but only two months later she suffered a stress fracture in her left ankle.  "You want to move, but you can't.  To a marathon runner not being able to run is the worst pain there is," said Noguchi.  Her doctor ordered her to take a prolonged break, and walking and monotonous physical therapy became the staples of Noguchi's daily routine.  The always-optimistic and positive Noguchi became dejected and morose, thinking, "That's it, it's over," and constantly complaining to her friends.

But even when her spirits were down she didn't give up.  Constantly pushing her in the back were her coach Hisakazu Hirose, her devoted support crew, and the endless letters of encouragement from her fans.  "Not being able to run only made me want to run more," she said.  "I understood that I really love to run."  Soon she was sinking herself into rigorously severe training on a daily basis, and the results are clear now as she appears renewed.

Last year Noguchi was 5th at both a road race in Holland in November and a half-marathon in Okayama in December.  Rather than rousing forgotten fears, Noguchi takes a positive outlook on the results.  "[Including an ekiden in October] I've gotten to the point where I can race three times in two months.  Compared to the misery of not being able to run that's totally fine."  Asked about whether her training has been productive, Noguchi's face lights up and her talk becomes more passionate.  "It's not a question of whether or not I'm near my old form.  I'm there.  I'm going to be running full-strength, like it hasn't been four years, and I'm going to reach my goal of a place at the London Olympics."  With such words of confidence flowing from her, it's clear that Noguchi truly believes she is fully back.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Fukuoka Winner Yuma Hattori: "Running Isn't Fun"

At the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International MarathonYuma Hattori (25, Toyota) ran 2:07:27 to win and become the eighth-fastest Japanese man ever. It was the first time since 2004 that a Japanese man became the Fukuoka champion. Hattori now stands among the leading competitors in the fierce battle to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon team.

Hattori and his younger brother Hazuma Hattori (23, Toenec) were star members of Toyo University's 2014 Hakone Ekiden winning team. They rank among the most famous brothers in Japanese athletics, but neither of them actually wanted to be a runner. "I wanted to play soccer," Hattori said. "Hazuma wanted to play table tennis. We're from the sticks out in Niigata and my junior high school didn't have a soccer team. I thought about joining a club team, but it was too far away."

"My dad had been a decathlete," Hattori continued, "so I started doing track and field as well. My mom was a cross-country skier, so bo…

Iron Injections Remain an Issue in Japanese High School Girls' Distance Running

To treat anemia some of the country's top high school ekiden teams inappropriately utilize iron injections that could have a harmful effect on athletes' health.

Iron injections are primarily used to treat serious anemia arising from iron deficiency, but according to experts they also improve endurance. As a result their use has spread across the country over the last 20 years, primarily among female athletes who are more prone to anemia.

Following a 2015 case in which an athlete was confirmed to have suffered liver damage as a result of excess iron levels, in April, 2016 the JAAF issued a warning for coaches to stop the practice of injections, saying, "The accumulation of iron in the internal organs has deleterious effects on the body." In an interview two women who graduated prior to the JAAF's warning talked about their firsthand experience in high school. Under their coaches' direction both used iron injections throughout their high school careers and pro…

Yamanouchi Leads Six Under Doha Standard in Deepest Women's 10000 m in World This Year

With the 31:50.00 standard for the 2019 Doha World Championships 10000 m announced earlier this week following the IAAF's about-face on its new world rankings system, Japan wasted no time in getting its people under the mark.

In cold conditions for the mid-afternoon Corporate Women's Time Trials meet at Yamaguchi's Ishin Me-Life Stadium the women's 10000 m A-heat went out strong and steady, 15:45 through halfway before the lead group began to splinter. Just two weeks after a season-worst performance at the National Corporate Women's Ekiden the Atsushi Sato-coached Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) roared back into form with a 31:16.48 meet record for the win, outkicking Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Starts) to land at #2 in the world so far this year and #8 on the all-time Japanese list. Yamanouchi and Kimanzi were the only two to clear 31:20, but all told six women made it under the 31:50 Doha standard, making the race the year's deepest worldwide.

Having fully recovered f…