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

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard opt…

Running the 2020 Olympic Marathon Course Part Two - The Women's Marathon

Today marks two years until the women's marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There's been a lot of concern about the 7:00 a.m. start time approved by the IOC two weeks ago as it means that athletes will be running under direct sunlight in temperatures in the low 30's and potentially high humidity. I went down to the Olympic Stadium site this morning and, starting at exactly 7:00 a.m., ran 30 km of the course to check for myself what kind of conditions the athletes will be facing.


If you're not familiar with Tokyo, take a look at the map to get a better idea of what I'm talking about. I ran from the stadium to the 20 km point and then back, cutting out the sections from 20 to 28 km and from 31 to 35 km which I'll do next week on the 9th, two years ahead of the men's marathon.
The bad news: The conditions were tough. With zero cloud cover and very little wind, at the time of the 7:00 a.m. start at the Olympic Stadium it was 31.1˚C with 68% humidity according…

Kamulu Breaks Fukushi's 10000 m Meet Record - National Corporate Track and Field Championships Day One Highlights

The fastest woman in the world over 10000 m this year with her 30:41.85 Japanese all-comers record at July's Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa meet, Pauline Kamulu Kaveke (Route Inn Hotels) added another sub-31 clocking to her name with a 30:56.94 meet record win on the first day of the 86th National Corporate Track and Field Championships in Osaka's Nagai Stadium. Starting off with company from fellow Japan-based Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Starts) and the Japanese duo of Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) and Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera), Kamulu was alone by 2000 m dead on track to equal her July mark.

Fading slightly over the second half of the race she still managed to shave nearly a second off Kayoko Fukushi's 2006-era meet record, nearly lapping the entire field. Kimanzi held on to 2nd in 32:02.39, with first Yamanouchi and then Ichiyama dropping back through the field. Seemingly close to her A-game again after a long period off with injury and a change in corporate team and coaching…