translated and edited by Brett Larner
At the Mar. 10 Nagoya Women's Marathon, Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) won in 2:23:34, the first male or female athlete to meet the Federation's qualifying times for August's Moscow World Championships. Athens Olympics gold medalist and national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (34, Team Sysmex) finished 3rd in 2:24:05, putting her into the 'likely' category for the Moscow team. She now stands a chance of wearing the Rising Sun on her uniform for the first time in nine years.
Assessing her comeback performance, Noguchi said, "My targets today were a 2:23 and the win. I ran a powerful race like back in the golden days, but after 36 km I had trouble moving my legs so I'd say that I'm only back to about 70 or 80%. I ran with power, but this was only one step. You can't suddenly make a complete comeback all at once. This race was just one step upward.
After running Nagoya last year I had a lot of time when I couldn't run due to problems with internal bruising in my right knee. I think it was really great that I could come back from that to the point I reached today.
2:21 and 2:22 have become normal at the world-class level. Japan has fallen behind. I ran today absolutely determined not to be beaten by the Ethiopians and Kenyans, and I hope that our other women will look at my running and be motivated to do the same. I want our young athletes to be going after those kinds of times."