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  London Marathon 2002
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Paula Radcliffe






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Paula wins marathon debut

In April her marathon debut in London she produced surely the greatest ever run by a woman at the distance, missing the world record of Catherine Ndereba (who was helped by male pacemakers) by nine seconds. She ran 2:18:56, the second fastest ever run, over three minutes faster than the previous best in a women's only race and over four minutes better than the previous fastest debut marathon.

After her weekend success she could well be looking to step up to the longer distance in her search for Olympic glory.

"I always said that after the London Marathon we would sit down and think of which one for Athens," Radcliffe told BBC Breakfast. But Radcliffe gave a hint that victory in London had swung her towards selecting that event for the 2004 Games.

"It maybe points it a bit towards the marathon," she added. "We will have to decide which will be my best chance for a gold medal."


Despite her sensational victory over what was considered the strongest field ever assembled, Radcliffe said she was slightly disappointed not to have broken the world record. The double world half-marathon winner finished in two hours, 18 minutes, 56 seconds. That was just nine seconds outside the time Japan's Catherine Ndereba ran last October in Chicago to set a new world best.


"Really, my only aim here was to win the race, and with the clock on the lead car not working it didn't really enter my mind until too late," she said. "I didn't know how close I was to the world record until the last 800 metres - I was stupid. I was wearing my watch and should have looked at it. But I've got no complaints. Maybe it will be better to try when I am more mentally prepared in the future."

Running on her own, she ran the second half marathon in 67:52, a time bettered by only 12 women at that distance alone.