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OLYMPIC CHAMP SEEKS WORLD RECORD
Olympic marathon champion, Mizuki Noguchi sets off after Paula Radcliffe’s
world record of 2hr 15min 25sec in the real_Berlin Marathon on Sunday
morning. But despite Berlin’s superfast course – five world records in the
last six years – the diminutive Japanese is realistic about her chances of
adding to her and Berlin’s achievements.
"I'd like to run a world record," she said at yesterday's press conference
near the Brandenburg Gate, "but Paula's record is very, very good. I think
I need to get close to it step by step. My aim is a Japanese record."
Noguchi's target is 2.19.41, set by her colleague Yoko Shibui, when she won
in Berlin last year. The Asian record set by Sun Jingjie of China is just
two seconds faster. Those times should be well within Noguchi’s compass.
Her best of 2.21.18 was set in Osaka two years ago, and she says her
training has gone better than last year.
Noguchi has had plenty of time to acclimatise. After a half-marathon at
home in Sapporo in early July, when she ran 69minutes, she has been
training at altitude in St Moritz, Switzerland for the last two months, the
same as she did prior to her Olympic victory in Athens.
Recalling her Olympic win, Noguchi said that as soon as she saw Radcliffe
last year, she knew the Briton would not do well. "Before the race, I
thought she didn't look right, and then when the race began, she wasn’t
running right." Radcliffe dropped out at 36 kilometres, and Noguchi went
on to win in a course record.
There has been much debate since Athens about how the torrid conditions,
36C, suited the tiny Japanese, who is only 1.50m or 4'11", better than
Radcliffe. She agreed, citing her coach, Nobuyuki Fujita. "He says that
the conditions were advantageous to the Japanese, particularly someone as
small as me. It wasn’t so humid in Athens, but we're used to hot and humid
summers in Japan. People also say Japanese training is 'crazy' (speaking in
Japanese, she used the English word). But, the results prove everything."
The ‘crazy’ training at St Moritz included 40k runs ("not every day," she
says with a smile), and track sessions of 45 times 400 metres. "There were
some European men runners watching me on the track. They were convinced I
was crazy," she added. As the coach said, 'Look at the results'. Tune in
again Sunday morning.