Mizuki Noguchi

Mizuki Noguchi (野口 みずき Noguchi Mizuki, born July 3, 1978) is a Japanese professional long-distance runner who specialises in the marathon event. She is an Olympic champion over the distance.

Initially starting out as a track and cross country athlete, her first major success was becoming the Asian cross country champion at age 21. She soon switched to road running, however, focusing on the half marathon. She won the individual and team silver medals at the 1999 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, and won a second team silver with a fourth-place finish at the same competition in 2000.

A switch to the marathon event demonstrated her talents further: She won the Nagoya and Osaka Women's Marathons,[1] and took the silver medal in the marathon at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics. Her good form continued and she became the Olympic champion in the marathon at the 2004 Athens Olympics. She won the Berlin Marathon the following year, setting world records at 25 km and 30 km along the way, and finishing with a personal best of 2:19:12 – a course record in Berlin and a new Asian record for the distance.[2] The 25K world record was beaten by Mary Keitany of Kenya in 2010, who ran the distance in 1:19:53 hours.[3]

Before the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Noguchi had set the second fastest time in the world for the previous year.[4] However, she was ruled out of all competitions after tests revealed that she had fatigue and a muscular back problem.[5] She missed the Olympics and the entire 2009 and 2010 seasons as a result. She returned in November 2011 with a fifth-place finish at the Zevenheuvelenloop.[6] She tried to gain a spot on the 2012 Olympic team, but her run of 2:25:33 hours left her in sixth at the Nagoya Marathon.[7] A return to Nagoya in 2013 brought her third place with a run of 2:24:05 hours.[8]

Mizuki Noguchi
Medal record
Women's athletics
Representing  Japan
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2004 Athens Marathon
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 2003 Paris Marathon

Early career

Noguchi was born in Kanagawa and grew up in Ise in Ise city in Mie. She started competing in track and field during her first year of middle school. While attending Ujiyamada Commercial High School, she entered the national high school track meet and competed in the 3000 m and the long-distance relay.

In 1997 she was hired by Wacoal, a maker of women's clothing, as part of their "Spark Angels" program of sponsored women athletes. In October of the following year the director, Nobuyuki Fujita (藤田信之), left over differences with the company. He took with him a coach and a few athletes, including Noguchi. While she was receiving unemployment benefits for a short time, she remained active athletically. In February 1999, Fujita and all his followers were hired by Globaly, a commodity futures firm.

Noguchi began 1999 by winning individual and team gold at the Asian Cross Country Championships, but after winning the Inuyama half marathon, she was inspired to concentrate her efforts on that event. She was ranked second in the world that year, and in 2001 she won in the all-Japan corporate league. With a string of victories, she became known as "Queen of the Half Marathon." Continuing through the Miyazaki Women's Road Race competition in January 2004, she competed in 24 half marathons and won 14 of them. Only twice was she beaten by another Japanese athlete.

In March 2002 she entered her first full marathon, the Nagoya International Women's Marathon, and won. In January 2003 she won the Osaka International Women's Marathon with a time of 2 hours 21 minutes 18 seconds, the second-fastest on record for Japan. She also won a silver medal in the World Championships in Paris that year.

In 2005, as Globaly closed futures trade department and athletic team, Fujita and all his followers moved to Sysmex, a medical instruments manufacturer, in December.

2004 Olympic champion

On 22 August 2004 Noguchi won the marathon in the 2004 Athens Olympics, against a field which included world record holder Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain, and the 2003 world champion Catherine Ndereba of Kenya. The race over the Classic course began with temperatures exceeding 95 degrees (35 °C). A leading pack of 12 stayed together through halfway in 1 hour 14 minutes. Noguchi made her move on the tough uphill section between the 25-kilometer (16 mi) and 30-kilometer (19 mi) marks. When she reached the 30-kilometer sign, after running the previous 5 kilometers in just under 17 minutes, she had a 26-second lead on Elfenesh Alemu of Ethiopia and a 32-second lead on Radcliffe. Heading into the streets of downtown Athens, Noguchi held off Catherine Ndereba, who closed the gap over the final 5 kilometers but could not make up the difference. Noguchi won in 2 hours 26 minutes 20 seconds. Ndereba finished 12 seconds behind Noguchi. Deena Kastor of the United States took the bronze at 2:27:20.

Records at Berlin

On September 25, 2005 Noguchi won the Berlin Marathon, which was her first big competition since winning the gold medal in Athens more than a year earlier. Four years earlier, the Berlin Marathon was won by Naoko Takahashi, the Japanese runner who took the Olympic gold medal in Sydney in 2000. Takahashi's remarkable win in 2001 in Berlin marked the first time in history that a woman ran sub-2:20, clocking in at 2 hours, 19 minutes and 46 seconds. Noguchi improved on Takahashi's time by more than half a minute, winning the 2005 Marathon in 2:19:12. Noguchi's time set three new records: the Berlin Marathon course record, the Japanese record, and the Asian record.

After the victory, she declared:

I am happy about my victory and the three records – the Japanese record, the Asian record and the course record. The course is really flat and nice to run. The slight ups and downs helped me to find my rhythm. My coach told me not to worry about split times. I have to thank the fabulous spectators, who cheered me all the way to the finish. I am so happy to have run here. [...] I saw a lot of churches and quite old buildings. But I also saw very nice shops and everywhere people. The race was good, only at 35 km my feet started to get heavy. But I thought of my training and I grit my teeth.


  • All results regarding marathon, unless stated otherwise
Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  Japan
2002 Nagoya Marathon Nagoya, Japan 1st 2:25:35
2003 Osaka International Ladies Marathon Osaka, Japan 1st 2:21:18
World Championships Paris, France 2nd 2:24:14
2004 Olympic Games Athens, Greece 1st 2:26:20
2005 Berlin Marathon Berlin, Germany 1st 2:19:12
2007 Tokyo Marathon Tokyo, Japan 1st 2:21:37


  1. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2003-01-26). Noguchi sets 2:21:18 course record and leads home sweep in Osaka. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-02-23.
  2. ^ Wenig, Jörg (2005-09-25). Noguchi breaks Asian record in Berlin Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-02-23.
  3. ^ IAAF, May 9, 2010: Kosgei, Keitany shatter 25Km World records in Berlin - Updated
  4. ^ iaaf.org - 2007 Toplists marathon women. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-02-02.
  5. ^ Broadbent, Rick (2008-08-10). Olympic champion, Mizuki Noguchi, rushed to hospital. The Times. Retrieved on 2010-02-23.
  6. ^ van Hemert, Wim (2011-11-20). Gebrselassie heads Ethiopian double in Nijmegen. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-11-21.
  7. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2012-03-11). Mayorova steals the show in Nagoya, third time a charm for Ozaki - Report. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-03-20.
  8. ^ Kizaki clinches World Championships berth with Nagoya victory as Noguchi returns. IAAF (2013-03-10). Retrieved on 2013-03-17.

External links

1999 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships

The 8th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships was held on October 3, 1999, in the city of Palermo, Italy. A total of 192 athletes, 119 men and 73 women, from 48 countries, took part.

The course was traced through the historical centre of the town with the start/finish line on the "Foro Italico." A detailed report on the event and an appraisal of the results were given.Complete results were published.

2000 IAAF World Cross Country Championships – Senior women's race

The Senior women's race at the 2000 IAAF World Cross Country Championships was held at the Sporting Complex in Vilamoura, Portugal, on March 18, 2000. Reports of the event were given in the New York Times, in the Herald, and for the IAAF.Complete results for individuals, for teams, medallists, and the results of British athletes who took part were published.

2003 World Championships in Athletics – Women's marathon

The women's marathon at the 2003 World Championships in Paris, France, was held on Sunday, 31 August 2003, starting at 14:20h local time.

2003 World Marathon Cup

The 2003 World Marathon Cup was the tenth edition of the World Marathon Cup of athletics and were held in Paris, France, inside of the 2003 World Championships.

2005 Berlin Marathon

The 2005 Berlin Marathon was the 32nd edition of the Berlin Marathon. The marathon took place in Berlin, Germany, on 25 September 2005.

The men's race was won by Philip Manyim in 2:07:41 hours and the women's race was won by Mizuki Noguchi in a time of 2:19:12 hours.

2013 World Championships in Athletics – Women's marathon

The women's marathon at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics was held at the Luzhniki Stadium and Moscow streets on 10 August.The first event of these World Championships started under hot and humid conditions at 2 in the afternoon. The race was dominated by the front running of 37-year-old Italian Valeria Straneo, leading at every split point. Like the 2012 Olympics, this did not look like the day for defending champion Edna Kiplagat, by 10K she had already dropped almost 30 seconds off the pace set by a large pack of leaders. By 15K, Kiplagat had joined the pack of 7 leaders, which also included Jia Chaofeng, Lucy Wangui Kabuu, Valentine Jepkorir Kipketer, Meselech Melkamu, Feyse Tadese and Kayoko Fukushi with the rest of the field being single or double marathoners, without any chase group. The pack lost individuals, Jia was the first to exit, followed by Tadese, Kipketer and Kabuu. By the time Fukushi lost some ground, the closest remaining chaser was her teammate Ryoko Kizaki over a minute back. When Melkamu left, she left quickly leaving a two-woman race to the finish. In the shadow of the stadium, Kiplagat pulled away from Straneo through the Olympic Park to a 14-second victory, Fukushi about 2 minutes back to get the bronze. Kiplagat is the first woman to repeat as champion in the marathon.

Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Women's marathon

The women's marathon at the 2004 Summer Olympics took place on August 22 in the streets of Athens, Greece. These streets were recently painted for the event, which provided an excellent road surface for the athletes. Drawing upon the ancient origins of the race, the marathon began in Marathon, Greece, and eventually ended at Panathinaiko Stadium, the venue previously used for the 1896 Athens Olympics.The 26.2 mile journey began in Marathon and the race over the classic course began with temperatures exceeding 95 degrees (35 °C).The top contenders all found themselves in a large leading group that held a modest pace through the half marathon. A few tried to surge ahead, but a pack of five runners had been separated from the rest of the field to maintain at the front as they passed the 20k mark.World record holder Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain, who started out as a pre-race favorite coming into the Games, raised the tempo taking four others, including the Japanese duo Mizuki Noguchi and Reiko Tosa, with her to the front. Past 25k, Radcliffe struggled to keep her pace on an uphill stretch of the course and fell behind, leaving the two runners Noguchi and Ethiopia's Elfenesh Alemu to chase into the front with only half a minute apart from each other. At around 35k, Radcliffe launched a brave charge to recover her pace and challenge the leaders into the medal position, until Kenya's Catherine Ndereba managed to overtake her. Distraught and sobbing, Radcliffe tried to restart with 6k left to the finish, but then slumped on the roadside and quit the race, citing pre-race nutrition problems and injuries for her disappointing performance.Heading to the Panathinaiko Stadium, Noguchi continued to escalate her lead, and edged past the late-charging Ndereba by twelve seconds to win the Olympic gold medal in 2:26:20. Noguchi's victory also marked the second consecutive gold for Japan in the women's marathon with Naoko Takahashi claiming the event in Sydney four years earlier.Meanwhile, Deena Kastor of the United States came from behind to easily surpass the fading Alemu, and earn the first Olympic medal by an American female in the event since 1984.Among the 82 starters, only sixty-six were able to successfully finish the race, with two left the track seeking for a medical attention.

Berlin Marathon

The Berlin Marathon (branded BMW Berlin Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is a major running and sporting event held annually in Berlin, Germany. The official marathon distance of 42.195 kilometers (26 miles 385 yards) is set up as a citywide road race where professional athletes and amateur runners jointly participate. Initiated in 1974, the event traditionally takes place on the last weekend in September, with the exceptions of 2000, because of a conflict with the Olympic Marathon date, and 2018, held two weeks earlier due to Day of German Unity preparations.There have been several title sponsors in the race's history. From 1974 until 1989 it was just the Berlin Marathon. In 1990 it was the Yanase Berlin Marathon. In 1991 and 1992 it was the Canon Berlin Marathon. It reverted to simply the Berlin Marathon from 1993 until 1997. It then became the Alberto Berlin Marathon in 1998 and 1999. A new title sponsor changed the name to real,- Berlin Marathon from 2000-2010. Finally this has been the BMW Berlin Marathon since 2011.

The Berlin marathon and related events are split over two days. Thousands of additional inline skaters compete at the marathon course the Saturday before the running event. Power walkers, hand-bikers, wheelchair riders, and a children's marathon (4.2195 km) are also part of the marathon weekend, which is organised by SCC EVENTS.

Along with five other city races, the World Championships and Olympic Games it forms the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series offering a $1 million prize purse to be split equally between the top male and female marathoners and lesser amounts for the second and third male/female finishers plus awards for the top wheelchair competitors.

The 2018 edition saw Eliud Kipchoge setting a new world record with a time of 2:01:39. The 33 year old Kenyan improved the former mark set by Dennis Kimetto at the Marathon's 2014 edition by 1:18 minutes. The same race saw also fast times on the women's race with a former course record of 2:19:12 set by Mizuki Noguchi in 2005. Gladys Cherono (Kenya) set a new course record with 2:18:11, with the runner up Ruti Aga (Ehthopia) with 2:18:34 and third placed Tirusnesh Dibaba finished 2:18:55, both below the old course record.

IAAF World Half Marathon Championships

The IAAF World Half Marathon Championships is an annual half marathon competition organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations. It was contested from 1992 to 2005, and replaced by the IAAF World Road Running Championships, a 20 kilometres race which had its inaugural event held in 2006 in Debrecen, Hungary. After a second edition of the Road Running Championships, which was over the half marathon distance, it reverted to the original name of the World Half Marathon Championships.

The competition replaced the female-only IAAF World Women's Road Race Championships, which was held annually from 1983 to 1991.

Inga Juodeškienė

Inga Petrauskaitė-Juodeškienė (born 21 October 1971 in Šiauliai) is a retired Lithuanian long-distance runner. She represented her nation Lithuania in two editions of the Olympic Games (2000 and 2004), and also set her own personal best of 2:31:30 in the women's division at the 2002 Frankfurt Marathon in Frankfurt, Germany. Before turning her sights to marathon in 2002, Juodeskiene ran a national record of 15:28.66 in the women's 5000 metres at the IAAF Permit Meet in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium that guaranteed her a spot on the Lithuanian team for the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Juodeskiene made her official debut at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, where she competed in the women's 5000 metres. She ran outside her career best of 15:46.37 to obtain a twelfth spot in a field of seventeen athletes during the third heat, but failed to advance further into the final.At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Juodeskiene qualified for her second Lithuanian squad in the women's marathon at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, by finishing third and registering an A-standard entry time of 2:31:30 from the Frankfurt Marathon. She finished the race with a sixty-third place time in 3:09:18 over a vast field of 83 marathon runners, trailing further behind gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi of Japan by forty seconds.

Inter-Prefectural Women's Ekiden

The Inter-Prefectural Women's Ekiden (全国都道府県対抗女子駅伝競走大会 (All-Japan Inter-Prefectural Women's Ekiden Championships)) is an annual women's ekiden (road running relay race) for Japanese runners held in January in Kyoto Prefecture. The course has a looped point-to-point format over the marathon distance of 42.195 km and begins and ends within the Nishikyogoku Athletic Stadium.

The competition was initiated in 1983 as a way of developing and improving the standard of women's long-distance running in Japan. All 47 Prefectures of Japan are allowed to enter a team into the event. The relay is divided into nine stages (or legs) of distances varying from 3 km to 10 km. Rather than being open to all, the stages are separated into age groups; competitors range from junior high school runners to fully-fledged professional athletes. This aspect is an essential part of the ethos of the competition: that younger athletes may interact and learn from more experienced runners. Non-Japanese nationals are not permitted to enter the competition and participants must represent the prefecture in which they are being schooled or, in the case of professionals, the prefecture in which they are mostly based.The ekiden is organised by the Japanese Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF), the national governing body for the sport. It has three major sponsors: the Kyoto Shimbun (the regional newspaper), Murata Machinery, and NHK (the national broadcaster). The event is transmitted every year on the NHK General TV channel as well as NHK Radio 1.The host prefecture, Kyoto, has historically been the most successful team at the competition by far, having won the ekiden on sixteen occasions. Hyogo and Chiba Prefecture are the next most successful, having won the event three times each. The event is among the most prestigious of the national women's running competitions and it attracts Japan's top runners within all the age ranges. Prominent women athletes to have competed at the event include: Olympic marathon champions Naoko Takahashi and Mizuki Noguchi, former world record holder Kayoko Fukushi, Vienna Marathon winner Tomo Morimoto and two-time Asian Games silver medallist Harumi Hiroyama.

The current course record of 2:14:55 hours was set by Kanagawa Prefecture in 2013.

Japan at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics

Japan sent 41 athletes to the 14th IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia. The Japan team were announced by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations after the 2013 Japan Championships in Athletics.

List of Asian records in athletics

Asian records in athletics are the best marks set in an event by an athlete who competes for a member nation of the Asian Athletics Association. The organisation is responsible for ratification and it analyses each record before approving it. Records may be set in any continent and at any competition, providing that the correct measures are in place (such as wind-gauges) to allow for a verifiable and legal mark.

List of Japanese records in athletics

The following are the national records in athletics in Japan maintained by Japan's Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF).


Noguchi (野口 lit. "field entrance") is a Japanese surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Fujio Noguchi (野口富士男), novelist

Goro Noguchi (野口五郎), singer and actor

Haruchika Noguchi (野口晴哉), the founder of Seitai

Hideyo Noguchi (野口英世), bacteriologist, discoverer of the agent of syphilis

Hiroshi Noguchi (野口裕司), football player

Isamu Noguchi (野口勇), Japanese-American sculptor

Jiro Noguchi (野口二郎), baseball player

Ken Noguchi (野口健), alpinist

Kenji Noguchi (野口健司), member of the Shinsengumi

Koji Noguchi (野口幸司), football player

Osamu Noguchi (野口修), founder of Japanese kickboxing

Ryuji Noguchi (野口 竜司, born 1995), Japanese rugby union player

Shigeki Noguchi (野口茂樹), baseball player

Shitagau Noguchi (野口遵), businesspeople

Soichi Noguchi (野口晴哉), astronaut

Thomas Noguchi (トーマス野口), Japanese-American coroner for Los Angeles County

Toshihiro Noguchi (野口寿浩), baseball player

Masaaki Noguchi (野口正明), baseball player

Mika Noguchi (野口美佳), businesswoman

Mizuki Noguchi (野口みずき), athlete

Neisai Noguchi (野口寧斎), poet

Nawoko Noguchi, also known as Naoko Ken (研ナオコ), singer, actress and television personality

Ryu Noguchi (野口竜), manga artist and designer

Ujo Noguchi (野口雨情), author

Yasutada Noguchi (野口安忠), athlete

Yataro Noguchi (野口弥太郎), painter

Yone Noguchi (野口米次郎), poet and father of Isamu Noguchi

Yoshiyuki Noguchi (野口祥順), baseball player

Noguchi Yuka, Japanese woman educator for preschool education

Yukio Noguchi (野口悠紀雄), economist

Osaka International Ladies Marathon

The Osaka International Women's Marathon (大阪国際女子マラソン, Ōsaka Kokusai Joshi Marason) is an annual marathon road race for women over the classic distance of 42.195 kilometres which is held on the 4th or 5th Sunday of January in the city of Osaka, Japan, and hosted by Japan Association of Athletics Federations, Kansai Telecasting Corporation, the Sankei Shimbun, Sankei Sports, Radio Osaka and Osaka City.

The first edition took place on January 24, 1982, and was won by Italy's Rita Marchisio. The 1995 marathon was cancelled due to the Great Hanshin earthquake. The race takes place in the city and passes prominent landmarks such as Osaka Castle. The course was altered in 2011 to allow for faster times by cutting out a number of hilly sections near Osaka Castle. The finish line of the race is at Nagai Stadium, which was the host venue for the 2007 World Championships in Athletics.The Osaka Half Marathon, open regardless of gender, is held alongside the women's marathon.The Japanese rock group The Alfee has written a large number of the theme songs for the marathon.

Sanyo Women's Half Marathon

The Sanyo Women's Half Marathon, also known as the Sanyo Women's Road Race (Japanese: 山陽女子ロードレース), is an annual road running competition for women held in December in Okayama, Japan. It features both a 10K run and half marathon race (21.1 km/13.1 miles). Sanyo Shimbun, a daily newspaper, is the title sponsor for the event.The day's events previously included an inter-prefectural competition (1985 to 1999) and a junior 3 km race in the 1990s. The half marathon race attracts top level Japanese and Japan-based foreign runners, as well as a smaller number of other international runners. The race is occasionally used as the Japanese women's selection race for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. Japanese entrants in both events are mostly collegiate athletes or members of corporate running teams.The course starts and finishes at Kanko Stadium in the centre of Okayama city. The half marathon is known as the Yuko Arimori Cup, in honour of the two-time Olympic medallist in the marathon, who was born in the city. The 10K is referred to as the Kinue Hitomi Cup in respect of the Okayama-born athlete who won Japan's first ever women's Olympic medal. Typically, the half marathon features about 100 entries and the 10K attracts around 200 runners. The 2011 edition had a record high of 366 entrants into the top level races.The course record for the half marathon is held by Sally Kaptich Chepyego with her time of 1:08:17 hours set in 2015 – the second time she had broken the record. The 10K record of 31:54 minutes was set in 2007 by Tiki Gelana. Historically, the winners of both races have been Japanese. There were several Chinese winners in the 1990s and since 2000 Kenyan women based in Japan have increasingly reached the top of the podium. Yukiko Akaba is the only runner to win consecutive half marathon titles. Kenyans Chepyego and Evelyn Kimwei and Japan's Mizuki Noguchi (the 2004 Olympic marathon champion) are the only other women to win the race twice.

Sapporo Half Marathon

The Sapporo International Half Marathon (札幌国際ハーフマラソン大会, Sapporo Kokusai hāfumarason taikai) was an annual road running competition over the half marathon distance 21.0975 kilometres (13.1094 mi) which took place each July in Sapporo, Japan.

First held in 1958, the race began as a full marathon competition for men under the moniker of the Hokkai Times Marathon. This lasted until 1973, as it was replaced with a shorter race of 30 km in 1974 and became known as the Times 30K. A women's programme was introduced in 1981, at which point the men's 30 km race was complemented with a women's 20 km. The women's race was slightly extend to the half marathon distance in 1986 and the men's race followed suit the following year. The road racing competition was known as the Sapporo Half Marathon from 1990 onwards.The race had a strictly looped course in the city of Sapporo which doubled back on itself, having Maruyama Stadium as the start and end point. The competition was broadcast live on national television each year via Nihon TV. The course was certified by AIMS and the Japanese Association of Athletics Federations. The competition doubled up to act as the national selection race for the 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.The Japanese Olympic marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi set a women's course record of 1:08:14 in 2006. Kenya's Mekubo Mogusu is the only runner to finish the course in under an hour, with his men's course record set in 2007 standing at 59 minutes and 54 seconds. Four athletes won the race on three separate occasions: Mogusu, Stephen Mayaka and Juma Ikangaa on the men's side, and Catherine Ndereba on the women's side.

Following the withdrawal of support from its traditional broadcaster, the race ceased to be held after the 2012 edition.

Yumiko Hara

Yumiko Hara (Japanese: 原裕美子, born 9 January 1982 in Ashikaga, Tochigi) is a Japanese marathon runner. She has represented Japan at two World Championships in Athletics and had won marathons in Nagoya, Osaka and Hokkaido.

She started out as a 10,000 metres track runner but she changed to road running at a relatively young age. She set a half marathon best at the 2002 Miyazaki Women's Road Race, where her time of 1:09:28 brought her third place behind Mizuki Noguchi and Mikie Takanaka. Running at the Sapporo Half Marathon in 2003 she finished with a time not far from her personal best (1:09:37) to take second place behind Catherine Ndereba, who set a course record. Over this period she competed at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships and although she failed to finish at the 2002 edition, she managed 19th place the following year.

Hara made her debut over the classic distance at the 2005 Nagoya Marathon, which she won in a time of 2:24:19, and she went on to finish sixth at the 2005 World Championships.

She achieved a personal best time of 2:23:48 hours when she won the 2007 Osaka Ladies Marathon. Having won in a sub-2:26 time, she received automatic selection for the World Championship marathon, also in Osaka, later that year. She was eighteenth at the 2007 World Championships. She returned to the Nagoya course in 2008 but could not repeat her previous success as she fell behind the leading pack at 31 km and finished in fourth place.Hara took third at the 2009 Osaka Ladies Marathon, but did not compete for over a year after the run. Having left her coaching team (Kyocera track), she began training alone. She approached Japanese coach Yoshio Koide (who trained 2000 Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi among others) and Hara joined his stable in 2010. She quickly responded and won the Hokkaido Marathon in August, running 2:34:12 in hot and humid weather.She currently is retired from running, and has been arrested for shoplifting several times, for example, she was arrested for stealing cosmetics and other items on July 30, 2017. She was subsequently convicted and sentenced to a one-year prison term, which was suspended by the judge in the case.

Berlin Marathon – women's winners
Tokyo Marathon – women's winners
Tokyo International
Women's Marathon
Tokyo Marathon

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