Mizuki Noguchi targets records on Sunday
Among almost 40,000 runners on Sunday’s real,- BERLIN-MARATHON there will be one superstar: Mizuki Noguchi. It took her 2:26:20 hours a year ago in Athens to become a national heroine in Japan. While she triumphed at the Olympic marathon the race had ended with a disaster for Paula Radcliffe, who did not finish. Now Mizuki Noguchi will contest her first marathon since Athens. The 27 year-old will run the real,- Berlin Marathon this Sunday.
While there seem to be more Japanese media people than German journalists covering the race and Fuji TV will broadcast it live in Japan on Sunday it would be a major upset should Mizuki Noguchi not win. So far she has won three out of her four marathons. It was only at the World Championships in Paris in 2003 that she did not cross the line first, still finishing second behind Catherine Ndereba.
“I know that Berlin usually has good weather conditions during the time of the marathon. And the course is flat. These were the reasons why I decided to go for this marathon”, Mizuki Noguchi said. Her primary goal is not just winning: “I want to break the Japanese record.” It was a year ago that Yoko Shibui had clocked 2:19:41 in Berlin. In 2004 this was the only sub 2:20 time by a woman. Shibui had beaten the famous Japanese record of Naoko Takahashi, who had become the first woman ever to run sub 2:20 in Berlin in 2001 (2:19:46).
Stating that her aim was to run a new Japanese record one can expect that the Asian record will fall as well. This mark by the Chinese Yingjie Sun is just two seconds faster than Yoko Shibui’s record. Asked about the possibilities of breaking Paula Radcliffe’s world record of 2:15:25 Mizuki Noguchi said: “I want to run world record one day, but Paula’s time is a very strong mark. I would like to get nearer to it step by step.”
Asked about her Olympic triumph and Paula Radcliffe’s performance in Athens during today’s press conference Mizuki Noguchi said: “Already before the race in Athens I somehow had the impression that something was wrong with Paula. She was not as relaxed as usual. And I got that impression again during the race. Before the Olympic final my coach had told me that running in Athens will be an advantage for us, because in Japan we are used to very warm weather in the summer.”
“One day I would like to race against Paula Radcliffe again”, Mizuki Noguchi stated. But it did not sound likely that this might happen before the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
As last year Mizuki Noguchi has done her marathon training in high altitude at St. Moritz (Switzerland). She is reported to be in even better shape than before the Olympics, having run her longest training runs one to two minutes faster than in 2004. “Some people say that the training of Japanese women runners is crazy. And even European male runners who were training in St. Moritz at the same time where surprised when I did speed work on the track.” There was of course a reason for being surprised, because Mizuki Noguchi did some speed work. During this she ran 400 metres 45 times, covering 18 k altogether. Her longest training runs were 40 k.
Comparing the Berlin Marathon with the race in Athens Mizuki Noguchi said: “In Athens I had to watch my rivals, it was more a tactical race. I feel much more relaxed in a race in which I can run my own pace as on Sunday.”
During her training camp in St. Moritz Mizuki Noguchi started picking up some German words. With some help she managed to count up to ten in German during the press conference. And suddenly she caused amusement when she stated: “Ich hasse Whisky.” – “I hate whisky.”
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