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

Saitama International Marathon Elite Field

With just over three weeks to go the Saitama International Marathon has released the elite field for its third running scheduled for Nov. 12, and it's a small one. A problematic event that carries the diminished legacy of the Tokyo International Women's Marathon and Yokohama International Women's Marathon, Saitama occupies a place in the national team selection process that should go to the far superior Tokyo Marathon women's race but remains out in the northwestern suburbs thanks to the sponsor and TV broadcast income it generates for the JAAF. But with a field like this, how much longer will it be able to generate any sponsor interest or income?

The move of the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships from mid-December to late November, just two weeks after Saitama, means that not a single corporate league woman is entered in Saitama's elite field. Not one. The home crowd is represented by 22-year-old Reia Iwade (Dome), who quit the Noritz corporate t…

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…