Two days earlier at a half marathon in Czech Republic, Yuta Shitara (25, Honda), like Suzuki born in 1991, broke the 10-year-old Japanese men's half marathon national record in a time of 1:00:17. "It's a big motivation to see an athlete the same age as me doing something like that," she said. Showing her determination to be one of her generation's leaders, she added, "I'll be 28 [at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics], right in my prime mentally and physically. I want to run big too."
In the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics Suzuki has the marathon in sight along with the track. "I need to run a half marathon and marathon somewhere once to check [how well they suit me]," she said. "Coach and I will be talking about it." If everything goes according to plan, December's Sanyo Women's Half Marathon is a likely candidate for her debut.
Along with Suzuki, the Japan Post Group corporate team includes London Olympian Hanami Sekine, 21, and Suzuki's London teammate Rina Nabeshima, 23. "I can't reach my highest potential alone," she said. "I hope that we can all work together to reach the top."
translated by Brett Larner