Mizuki Nogushi of Japan celebrates winning silver in the women's marathon (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Mizuki Noguchi wins Miyazaki Half Marathon

Mizuki Noguchi who is already selected for the Japanese Olympic marathon team won the Half Marathon in Miyazaki with 1:07:47.  It was the course record, eclipsing her own record of 1:08:22 she set two years ago.  It was also a personal best for the 1999 World Half Marathon silver medallist, which moved her up to 14th place on the all-time list. 

“I am happy to set a personal best and move up to another level before the Olympic Games,” said Noguchi who seems to have much more dynamic running form than before.  Last fall, after winning the silver medal at the marathon in the World Championships in Paris, Noguchi announced that she would be running half marathons every month as part of her training leading up toward the Olympic marathon in Athens. 

On November 9 in Kobe, Noguchi won the half marathon in 1:09:52.  Although she was not in the top shape with the hope of running 1:08, Noguchi started off with 16:07 and 16:27 for the first 10Km.  However, partly hampered by the rain she slowed down in the last half.  After the half marathon in Kobe Noguchi said, “I need to be able to run with the steady pace, even when running alone.” 

A month later on December 7 in Okayama, she won the half marathon in 1:10:04.  For the two half marathon last year, she was not well prepared. 

However, in Miyazaki, with much better preparation Noguchi was hoping to set a personal best, which she did.  In Miyazaki Noguchi started fast and ran much of the race alone, covering the first 10Km in 15:51 and 15:56.  Although she slowed in the next 5Km to 16:20, she was able to pick up the pace at the end with 16:12 for the next 5Km and finished with 3:28 for 1.0975Km (15:48 five Km pace).  After Paris, Noguchi realized that in order to win the major championships marathon, she had to learn to surge at the late stage of the race.  In Miyazaki, Noguchi has shown that she is gaining such an ability.  

Results:  JPN unless otherwise indicated
1)  Mizuki Noguchi  1:07:47   (15:51, 15:56, 16:20, 16:12, 3:28)
2)  Jelena Prokopchuka (LAT)  1:08:52
3)  Keiko Isogai  1:10:15
4)  Kayoko Obata  1:10:20
5)  Harumi Hiroyama  1:10:24
6)  Kozue Saito  1:10:26
7)  Ai Yamamoto 1:10:32
8)  Nozomi Iijima  1:10:40