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Paula Radcliffe, gbr

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Paula Radcliffe






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She won gold in the Milan Cross-country, and then ran an extraordinary 30:43 to win the 'World's Best' road 10km in San Juan, Puerto Rico: the world-class field was left far behind. 

1. World Cross-Country, Dublin

2. London Marathon

She started her track season late but made a wondrous seasonal debut as she took 4.77 secs off her British and Commonwealth records for 3000m in 2nd to Gabriela Szabo at Monaco on 19 July.

3. Commonwealth Games, Manchester (5,000m)

4. European Championships, Munich (10,000m)

 She broke the UK 10km road record when a clear winner in 30:38 on a hilly course in Richmond Park in September.

5. Chicago Marathon 

21 Oct 2002 

The Queen will be one of the first people to congratulate Paula Radcliffe when the world marathon record holder sets her flying feet back on British soil.

After her awesome victory in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Radcliffe has business commitments in the United States to take care of before enjoying a three-week Californian holiday.

After promotional work for sponsors Nike at the New York Marathon on November 3, Radcliffe will fly back to London. Two days later she is scheduled to receive an MBE, awarded in June's Birthday Honours List.

Before then, having taken women's marathon running into a new era with her 2 hours 17 minutes 18 seconds victory, relaxation is the only thing in the minds of Radcliffe and husband and manager, Gary Lough.

"We will have a complete three-week break", said Radcliffe, the first woman to run under two hours 18 minutes for the endurance event.

She added: "As long as I am doing something, I'm all right - I won't miss running."

The rest period, however, will allow the 28-year-old Bedford star who, in a phenomenal year, retained her World Cross Country title and won the Flora London Marathon on her debut in the spring, to recharge her batteries.

In the summer Radcliffe took the Commonwealth 5,000 metres and European 10,000m gold medals on the track then finished her year brilliantly with her world record.

Radcliffe, amazed she has come up trumps on every goal she set herself for 2002, said: "The way it usually goes you end up getting three or four. But I always did think that five was possible."

Apart from committing herself to the 10,000m in next year's World Championships, Radcliffe has not decided the remainder of her programme.

"It's the only one I know I want to do and if the 5,000m is second to it, I'll also probably do that," she said.


She was elected as British Female Athlete of the Year, and was awarded the MBE in June. She was the IAAF World female Athlete of the Year, and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Radcliffe was a clear winner with a total of 619,577 votes. Beckham polled 113,539 and McCoy 87,972. She was also voted 'Lefty of the year 2002'.