Skip to main content

Fully Recovered From Serious Accident, Noriko Matsuoka Nervous but Ready for Nagoya International Women's Marathon Debut

http://www.shizushin.com/sports_news/shizuoka/20110308000000000018.htm

translated by Brett Larner

At the final domestic selection race for the 2011 World Championships women's marathon team, the Mar. 13 Nagoya International Women's Marathon, track ace Noriko Matsuoka (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) will take on her marathon debut. "I wouldn't exactly say that I have no chance [to make the World Championships team]," she says. Matsuoka has always kept the hope of making a strong marathon debut hidden away inside, and now at age 31 having risen above hardship and setbacks she is ready to take hold of the opportunity.

With no significant injuries since last summer Matsuoka completed the entire training menu she was given and is in a state of excellent preparation. But, she says, "I've practiced and practiced, but for some reason I just can't shake my self-doubt. 42.195 km is a long way. But, I think that when we get down to the day before the race I'll cut through all of that and be ready." Overcoming the fear of an unknown distance is the mark of a true veteran.

Since she was in her early teens Matsuoka has always had hopes and dreams for the future. Those around her also hoped to see her make an early debut at the marathon, but the chain slipped off the gears in 2001. Matsuoka was struck by a cyclist while running and was seriously injured, with broken bones all over her body. After recovering she fell into a long slump, suffering from chronic lower back trouble. "For a long time I was only able to deal with what was right in front of me, the here and now," she says. "But I've slowly been able to build things back up to the point where I'm ready for the marathon. I'm glad that I've kept with it for so long." Now ready to stand on the starting line, she faces the race with a mix of apprehension and happiness.

Matsuoka had a decisive victory at last November's Nagoya Half Marathon, winning in 1:11:13. She takes reassurance from knowing the Nagoya course. Even in the midst of a strong field she must be counted among the candidates for a place on the national team. "It's OK if I fail," she says. "I just want to take that first step. After that it's just a question of how far I can go. I know it'll be tough, but if there's even the slightest crack in the wall [of making the national team] then I want to go for it." Matsuoka's gentle demeanor and kind smile at these words mask the tiger hidden within waiting to spring.

Noriko Matsuoka
Born May 2, 1979 in Fuji, Shizuoka
5000 m: 15:29.38 (Hiroshima '09)
10000 m: 31:31.45 (Niigata '08)
half marathon: 1:11:13 (Nagoya '10)

Comments

Brett Larner said…
I hope Matsuoka is able to run Nagano or wherever they decide to have the makeup race for Nagoya.

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Kawauchi Outruns 103 Teams to Win Yashio Isshu Ekiden

2017 London World Championships marathon 9th-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) gave local club and high school runners something to remember when he ran Sunday's Yashio Shinai Isshu Ekiden solo against 103 six-runner teams. Kawauchi spent most of the 20.0 km race in 2nd, briefly taking the lead at the end of the 3.9 km Second Stage before falling behind after a Third Stage course record run by Kotaro Minowa (Matsudo T&F Assoc.).

Down 13 seconds, Kawauchi came back to split a time 14 seconds faster for the 2.7 km Fifth Stage than its fastest ekiden runner, Yusei Otsuki (Kasukabe H.S. A). Now ahead of Matsudo and out front alone, Kawauchi saved his biggest running for last, dropping a 2:40 final km to split 14 seconds under the 12:34 course record for the 4.0 km anchor stage. Desperate to catch him, Matsudo anchor Shunsuke Matsui went 6 seconds under the old record to become its official new holder but couldn't match Kawauchi's closing speed.

Kawauchi's…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men