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Athlete List

Paula Radcliffe

-1994

1994-1999

2000-2001

2002

 

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Kelly Sotherton
Kelly Holmes
Paula Radcliffe
Yelena Isinbayeva
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Paula Radcliffe
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Paula's page is currently being re-made. Keep checking back for new look!

 

Stats

PBs

Full Name: Paula Jane Radcliffe
Born: 17/12/1973 (Northwich, Cheshire)
Age: 30
Sex:  Female
Lives: Leicester (she has two houses in the Midlands) , an apartment Fort Romeu, France, and lives for a portion of the year training at altitude in Albuquerque New Mexico.
Marital Status: Married to Gary Lough
Height: 1.73m
Weight: 54kg
Event: Long Distance
Club: Bedford & County AC
Coach: Alex & Rosemary Stanton
Manager: Gary Lough (also husband)
University: Loughborough
Qualifications: First Class Honours BA European Studies (Loughborough) 1996
Sponsors: Nike, Cadburys
Languages: Speaks French and German fluently and keeps her hand in by doing translations for the athletics world governing body
Medical: Asthmatic
Other: Left-handed
Official Website: http://www.paularadcliffe.com/
Family: Great-Aunt Charlotte Radcliffe won an Olympic silver swimming medal at 4x100m freestyle relay in Antwerp 1920.

London Marathon 03

Personal Bests:

 

Road:        
Mar*  2:15.25    WR  13 Apr 2003 London, GBR
HMar** 66:47   ER 7 Oct 2001 Bristol, GBR
30kR 1:36.36   +WR 13 Apr 2003 London, GBR
20MR 1:43.33   +WR 13 Apr 2003 London, GBR
20kR 64:28 13 Apr 2003 London, GBR
10MR 51:41   + 22 Oct 2000 South Shields
15kR 49:06   13 Oct 2002 Chicago, USA
10kR*** 30:21   23 Feb 2003 San Juan, PUR
5MR**** 24:47    24 Apr 1999 Balmoral
Track:        
10km 30:01.09   CR 6 Aug 2002 Munich, GER
400m 58.9 1992
800m 2:05.22    16 Jul 1995 Birmingham, GBR
1km 2:47.17    24 Jul 1993 Bedford, GBR
1500m 4:05.37    1 Jul 2001 Glasgow (S)
1Mile 4:24.94    14 Aug 1996 Zurich, SUI
2km 5:37.01   + 19 Jul 2002 Monaco, MON
3km 8:22.20   CR 19 Jul 2003 Monaco, MON
2Mile 9:32.07    23 May 1999 Loughborough
2Mile 9:17.4   +e 20 Jun 2004 Bydgoszcz, POL
5km 14:29.11   CR 20 Jun 2004 Bydgoszcz, POL
+ = on route to

Commitment is written across her forehead and laced in her ethics. "I train hard, it is more than a full time job." 

Her athletic ability and commitment to training are accompanied by a strong belief in playing by the rules. She has frequently made high-profile condemnations about drug cheating in athletics.

 

"I'm sure a young Paula Radcliffe didn't decide 'you know what? I'm going to start running marathons'. I'm sure she'd still far rather run one mile than 26. It just so happens she's bloody good at running 26 miles."
Kelly Sotherton

What makes Paula so great?

Paula has huge lungs let her consume vast amounts of oxygen. Her heart, twice the size of an average female's pumps oxygen to her muscles packed with energy releasing cells. So she can run very fast for a very long time.

Paula Radcliffe currently holds an amazing ten world records including the marathon over 26.2 miles.

Sport and You - Paula Radcliffe

Training

She achieves this by training very hard. She runs 150 miles every week.

"When I'm training things that go through my mind are everyday things. If I'm out on a run I might be thinking things like, 'what shall I have for dinner or what's going to happen in EastEnders' - anything really. In a marathon race then other mind games come into play to keep my concentration, speed and tempo moving. That's when I start to count to myself I know that if I count to 100 three times then that's usually about a mile for me at marathon pace."

Overseas training

"The track in Albuquerque is deserted, it is a high school track and the hour calls for morning assembly. A small group of athletes arrive, they are lithe, fit and fuelled by ambition. They are here to work hard, there is little talk. The high altitude makes running tough, there is one woman in the group with asthma, for her it will be especially hard. The hot morning sun offers no remission.
The workout begins, lap after lap. The girl stays with the men. Her head is rocking violently from side to side, she groans out load to hold the torturous pace. But she keeps the pace. Each interval ends with the girl lunging to the track, and she looks as though she can not start the next repeat, but she does. This is not an office job, it is pain, sweat and hard labour. This is Paula's domain." - NYSportsGirl

What is the hardest part of Paula's training? There is a big hill near her French apartment that takes ten minutes to climb, Paula runs this hill as part of her long run and, in her words, "It kills!" - NYSportsGirl

 

Biography and Race biography

Paula has compiled a most distinguished record as Britain's top distance runner, setting British records at 5000m, 10,000m, 3000m, 30km, 20 miles, half marathon and marathon. She married Gary Lough (best of 3:34.76 for the 1500m during the IAAF Grand Prix Final in 1995) on April 15 2000. Nowadays he manages Paula, he runs in a non-competitive manner.

Born in a blizzard, and having won the world junior title in a Boston snowstorm, Radcliffe claims an affinity for arduous conditions. 

 

Biography

Paula's Junior Achievements

Paula's Early Senior Career 1994 - 1999

2000 - 2001

The Golden Year - 2002

 

 

2003

A RUNAWAY SUCCESS

"I just love running," explains Paula Radcliffe. "I love that feeling when you run fast and you get the highs. Essentially, all I want to do is go out there and run faster. I want to be better than I was last year. That's the feeling that you've built with.
"I remember my grandmother once asking me when I'd get a proper job. Thankfully she's stopped that now - I can't remember when, but I imagine it must have been when my career took off. Really it's only a sport, but it is something I love doing."

Now hailed as
"the fastest woman in the world", Paula is blonde, elegantly tall and fiercely competitive. She won this year's London Marathon - her second - and set a new women's world record with her time of two hours 15 minutes 25 seconds. Last month, she ran away with her third IAAF World Half Marathon victory in Vilamoura, in just 67 minutes 35 seconds.


Born in Northwich in Cheshire 30 years ago, she moved with her family to Bedford, where she spent most of her childhood. Her father, Peter, a brewery executive, is also a respectable marathon runner, while her mother is the headmistress of a local comprehensive.


Clearly, Paula's initial interest in long-distance running stems from her father, a former vice president of the local athletic club, who was instrumental in helping to develop her awareness of the sport.


Sport runs in her family in more ways than one. Her great-aunt, Charlotte Radcliffe, represented Britain in the 1920 Olympic Games and won a silver medal for swimming, when her team won the 4 x 100 metres freestyle relay.


When, as a youngster, Paula competed in her first under-12s English Cross Country Championships, she was devastated when she finished a lowly 299 out of a total of 320 runners.
The following year, determined to improve that position, she surprised herself when she came in fourth overall. Her long-term dream was always to run a marathon alongside her father - but that was not to be until she was 18, by which time her running career had already taken off.


Now she is a multimillionaire from earnings both on and off the race-track. She signed a lucrative deal with Nike a couple of years ago, as well as several small - but equally productive - deals with Vittel mineral water and Cadbury chocolate.
"The money is not a big deal," she says. "It's winning that is more important to me."
Last year, in tribute to her achievements worldwide, BBC television viewers voted her their Sports Personality of the with more than 600,000 votes, almost six times as many as England's football captain, David Beckham. This year, the probability of her being selected again is just as great, especially considering the number of world records she has smashed.


In the past she has amassed a truly impressive collection of sports trophies, among them two successive Flora London Marathons.
She also broke records in the British and European Championships and in the Commonwealth Games won gold medals for the 5,000 metres and the 10,000 metres respectively.
A year ago she won the Chicago Marathon, since when she has gone on to launch a series of seven performances where she set the world's fastest times on five occasions over four distances.


In recent weeks she has achieved more than any other athlete of her calibre, in spite of being sidelined from the World Games with a shin injury and a bad bout of bronchitis.
Now her mind is set on winning yet another gold medal to add to her already impressive collection - in next year's marathon at the Olympics in Athens. But of all her awards so far, the most poignant was receiving the MBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace last year. As she admits:
"That was quite an occasion".


Paula is married to Gary Lough, a former international runner and physical education and sports science graduate. They first met while studying at Loughborough University and went out briefly together. However, it was not until 1997 when their paths crossed again that their romance was rekindled. They married three years later.
Her husband now acts as her agent and manager and has dedicated his life to her success. Wherever she trains, which can entail running as much as 140 miles a week, he can often be found cycling alongside, encouraging her. They have homes in Loughborough and in the French Pyrenees, where Paula does much of her training.
"Gary is my greatest support and I certainly couldn't have achieved what I have done without him. He doesn't get the recognition he deserves for all the training he does with me and all the organisational things. Without him I don't know what I would do. I am somebody who likes to race quietly but I'm lucky I have a mean and aggressive husband who is acting as a bit of a bouncer. He needs to be my buffer."

Paula also admits that, because of her career, she has been putting off having children.
"We both love kids and want to start a family sooner rather than later, but plans are on hold until after next year's Athens Olympics.
"My goal is now to win an Olympic gold. It would be a rare achievement, but that's what I'm aiming for. There's been talk about me trying for the 10 kilometres, but at the moment I'm only going to compete in one race in Athens - the marathon."


As for earnings, she admits she is the last one to be up to date on that front.
"I really wouldn't have a clue what I've earned, but I recently bought a Mercedes and we also have an Alfa Romeo 156 which I love driving along the twisty roads in France. Gary gave me a pair of diamond earrings, and this year bought me a necklace to match - oh and I do't have to get on budget flights any more.
"But money has never been my motivation. I just love running. The other day I looked at a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, but I would never consider paying £400 for them. I am just happy that we are comfortable enough to have some nice holidays and invest in the training I need."


When not in training, she and Gary like nothing more than going out for a quiet evening with friends.
"We both like eating out whenever we have a chance, but I also like to cook occasionally when we are at home on our own. My favourite food is sushi. "I'm also a great reader - the most interesting book I've read so far is The Power of One by Bryce Courtney, which is set in South Africa and about both sides of the Second World War. It's a wonderful read."
Whenever they manage to find the time, they both like to watch sport on television.
"I sometimes watch soccer, skiing and, occasionally, diving, swimming and tennis - those are all my favourite sports," she says. "We also like going to the cinema or watching a film on video. Sometimes when I have the time, I find cross-country skiing a good way of relaxing and one day, perhaps, I would love to try my hand at rally-driving."
Before a big event it is her husband who plays the crucial role in keeping her mind focused on the immediate race and ensuring that she is not distracted or bothered by the media or anybody asking trivial questions.


"The problem is that I like to know what's going on, although I leave most of it up to Gary to monitor things.
"My philosophy is that the more kids get involved in sport, the more likely you are to find champions of the future. That is why I am an ambassador for the Get Active fitness programme."

Paula is also a great campaigner for other causes, including the fight against the misuse of drugs in sports - this year, she has been tested for drugs more than any other athlete in the world.
"I want to finish my career and say I achieved the best I was capable of," she says and, doubtless, that's what she will do - she has the world at her feet.

Paula set a world record for 10km on the roads with a superb win in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 30:21 on 23 February. 

 

London marathon 2003

In April, 2003, Paula smashed her own World Marathon Record by 1 minute and 53 seconds with a time of 2:15.25 in London, and set world bests en route at 30km (1:36:36, compared to the initial IAAF mark of 1:39:02) and 20 miles (1:43:33). She went through 10km in 32:01 and halfway in 68:02, before a second half marathon of 67:23. 

She did this despite arriving in London nursing cuts suffered in a collision with a cyclist a few weeks earlier.

Paula passes her first pace maker...... and is hot on the heels of the second!

 

At 22 miles

Crossing the line, and celebrations

"Paula Raises the Marathon Standard"

  

Paula at the Laureus Sports Awards 2003.

 

 

A leg and hip injury, followed by bronchitis and tonsillitis, have prevented her competing on the track and she had to withdraw from the World Championship team.

PAULA RADCLIFFE HIGHLIGHTS THE PROBLEMS OF OBEASE BRITAIN

Paula Radcliffe was one of the ambassadors for the Cadbury Get Active day at the NEC in Birmingham, which aims to highlight the problems of obesity in today's children...

As a nation, we are getting heavier and obesity is increasing. The reason seems to be that levels of physical activity, especially amongst children, have substantially decreased.

Children's lives have become more sedentary probably due in part to the influence of television and games consoles..

Obesity is rapidly becoming a major problem with serious implications for the health of those affected by it. Obese people are at a greater risk of developing diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Simply put, we're eating too much and doing too little which is seen as a recipe for poor health.

The answer to the problem is a balanced lifestyle that combines a sensible diet with sufficient physical exercise and Paula Radcliffe has lent her support to a campaign that aims to achieve just that.

The Cadbury Get Active campaign aims to educate children by encouraging them to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle.

The company have enlisted some top sports stars including Paula Radcliffe, Audley Harrison and Darren Gough to help get that simple health message across to kids. Paula said:
"I am delighted to be here as ambassador to encourage kids to Get Active. This is massively important to me and is a great message to get out to the public."

Over 10,000 adults and children attended a recent Get Active event at the NEC in Birmingham, which featured a whole range of activities designed to foster a more active and healthier lifestyle in today's children.

It's hoped the initiative will help to educate children about the dangers associated with obesity and hopefully teach them how to take steps towards a healthier life.

 

 

Richmond Park 10km

Paula set a GB best time for the 10km at Richmond Park in September. Radcliffe, making her first competitive appearance since breaking the world record in the London marathon in April, was beaten by only six men as she crossed the finishing line in 30 minutes 51 seconds. Radcliffe’s time was significantly slower than the UK all-comers record of 30:38 last year and the world record of 30:21 she set in Puerto Rico in February. Molesey’s Sonia O’Sullivan was the second women in 33:09 and Charlotte Dale, a student at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, third in 33:53. Radcliffe, who ran an impressively even-paced race, passed the 5km point in 15:26. Relief It was a welcome relief for Radcliffe, who missed last month’s World Championships in Paris because of bronchitis and shin trouble. 

After the race, her voice was still croaking from the effects of altitude training in the French Pyrenees, Radcliffe said: ”It’s just great to be back. 

“The main thing for me was to have some enjoyment from racing again. I enjoyed it, but it was tough.” The race was run in the opposite direction to last year.

Radcliffe said: “It was tougher this way round with a long drag between 5km and 7km,” she said, referring to the gradual uphill stretch from Kingston Gate. 

 

Richmond Park 10km 

Thanks to Getty Images for some of these pictures

 
Paula signs autographs after

 

 

Flora light women's challenge 5km

She then took the Flora Light Challenge title the following weekend (14th September) in Hyde Park, where she ran a World Best time of 14:51.

Richmond Park 10km

Paula after 

 

Great North run 2003

She then went on to win the Great North Run on 21st September in a world best time of 1hr 40 min and 5sec.

Paula at GNR  Thanks to Getty images for pictures

Paula at GNR  Thanks to Newsround for pictures

Thanks to Getty images for pictures

 

World Half marathon championships

Paula won the 12th IAAF World Half-marathon championships on 4th October in Vilamoura, Portugal, but in a slower time than the Great North Run.

Paula at World 1/2 Marathon  Thanks to Getty images for pictures

 

She was defeated for the first time in 16 months in the Ekiden Road Relays in Japan.

"I enjoyed it, it was a good race, there was a lot of support from the crowd and it was a nice course," said Radcliffe, whose 10km time of 30:42 was far slower than her best of 30:01.

"I felt very tired in the last three kilometres, so I didn't run as well as I have to, but the other (English) girls ran well.

"I began to feel very tired in the last three kilometres, so I was struggling, just trying to go when the Kenyan girl Lucy Wangui went away, but I was unable to stay with her," added Radcliffe.

In tests on her return Paula discovered that her magnesium levels were low.  "It was playing on my mind because I felt terrible in that race," she said. "So I was having doubts. It's a relief to put it behind me."


European Cross-country

This, however, did not prevent her from taking the European cross-country title convincingly in December in Edinburgh. As Gary Lough sprayed her with oil before the off to insulate her from the chill, there was no hint of the drama that had gone on as the team warmed up.

"Paula only confirmed she was running 10 minutes before the start," Lough revealed, and afterwards the 29-year-old Radcliffe confirmed that this had been no routine success.

"I caught a bad cold, and was a bit worried all week, for I knew that it would be tough," she said. "I thought I'd thrown it off, but the plane journey did not help, and then after that very hot room at the press conference, I felt really rotten. My legs felt crappy, and I decided to warm up, and if I felt really bad I would not have run."

Abeylegesse ensured she had to work for it. The tiny 21-year-old used Radcliffe as a shelter against the wind for much of the race and it was only when they were going up Haggis Knowe for the final time, 800 metres from the end of the 6,595m course, that she cracked. Radcliffe, who won in a time of 22:04, was at the front from the start had to see off a strong challenge Abeylegesse and it wasn’t until just before Haggis Knowe on the fourth lap that she was able to shake her off.

"The plan was to take it steady in the early part of he race, because I knew Elvan would be a big danger," added Radcliffe. "I have a lot of respect for her. She was in good shape, and I knew I had to be 100%. I didn't want to leave it until the last 200 metres."

Even then there was a drama as Radcliffe twisted her ankle at the bottom of the hill and felt faint at the top - due to how much she had put into her effort - before regaining her composure to go on and win by 9 seconds.

 "I didn't feel great on the hill on the last lap," she said. "I jarred my ankle at the bottom, which made me sprint to the top, and I felt a bit light-headed. On that last hill I didn't know how much of a gap I had. I then went a bit harder than I maybe should have.”

Her husband was one of thousands who encouraged her, racing anxiously from point to point on a course ideal for spectators, but he ran into a tree and badly skinned his nose. As Paula collected the Christmas present which she wanted, Gary looked like Rudolph!

Paula in the race

The GB team also managed to snatch the team gold for the first time in history!

"It's a brilliant result to win the team title. We've had good teams in the past, and failed. It's fabulous."

The Team Victory:


Later on the same evening (Dec 14th), Paula took 3rd prize in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, behind two players from the England World Cup winning Rugby team; Johnny Wilkinson and Martin Johnson. 

In his acceptance speech for the Golden Sports Personality award, Sir Steve Redgrave said: "I hope that Paula Radcliffe, who had my vote, will hopefully go on to bigger and better things next year and win that Olympic gold she deserves."

Johnny Wilkinson Martin Johnson Sir Steve Redgrave

2004

Paula Radcliffe is currently having her fitness assessed by her medical team after her second place finish in ‘The World’s Best 10km’ in Puerto Rico on Sunday 29 February, when she was was outsprinted by Lornah Kiplagat.

 

World Cross-country, Brussels

Paula has asked to be considered for selection for both the 8km and 4km races for the World Cross-Country in Brussels. Radcliffe, who has twice won World long course titles, will decide nearer the time whether to contest either or both races.

 

Radcliffe has been included by Great Britain for both the 8km and 4km races at the event in Brussels. The European champion has recently suffered a virus but is expected to run over both distances.

Paula Radcliffe has pulled out of this weekend's IAAF World Cross-Country Championships after injuring her right hamstring in training. Radcliffe had been hoping to bounce back to form, but on Thursday she said: "I went for my usual long run on Sunday morning and everything was okay. Then in the evening I went for a light run and felt a stiffening in my hamstring and knew I needed treatment." Radcliffe underwent treatment at UK Athletics' high-performance centre in Loughborough but failed to rectify the problem. "I found it impossible to run uphill and in a cross-country race there will always be plenty of them," she said. Now it's case of getting back into training. That should be shortly as it isn't a serious injury."

The minor problem has responded well to treatment but has not recovered sufficiently to allow Radcliffe to cope with racing on a demanding cross country course this weekend.

 

Radcliffe said: “I am really disappointed to have to withdraw as training has gone really well and I was looking forward to racing well in Brussels.”

 "Radcliffe out of Brussels"

 

The more energetic spectators might find themselves alongside world record-holder Paula Radcliffe (Bedford and County AC) as they follow the Flora London Marathon on Sunday 18 April.

For rather than bid for a third successive victory, Radcliffe is planning to spend the morning, like thousands of others, urging on a family member raising money for charity – brother Martin – before going off-road for a two-hour training run.

She revealed her plans when she met members of the British Athletics Writers Association on Friday 16 April to explain what she has been doing since a hamstring injury forced her to withdraw from the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team which won Bronze medals in the Senior Women’s 8km race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Brussels on 20 March.

The injury was, she said, “a blessing in disguise”. For when she went to physiotherapist Gerard Hartmann in Limerick, his typically thorough treatment included a cross examination as to what had caused the injury.

"I hadn't slipped or anything in training and it isn't something that shouldn't happen on a steady run,” Radcliffe explained. "So I went for a check-up scan and we found I had a small hernia.”

Within 24 hours of the discovery, she was in Munich on 24 March for an operation to repair the tear.

"We're looking at it as a blessing in disguise,” she added, “because the weakness had probably been there for a while and was causing other problems. It was affecting the strength of other muscles and the surgeon said it would have caused further injuries.

“Now it is stronger than before and I take confidence from the fact that I’d been training so well despite it. I've now been back running three weeks and everything is normal."

Paula Radcliffe announced last week she would be making her first appearance on a British track for two years by running the 10,000m at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Gateshead on June 27. The world's most high profile female endurance runner has not competed on a British track since winning the 5000m at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. 

Radcliffe said of competing in Gateshead: "It's been a long time since I raced on the track in the UK and I have really missed it. Gateshead will be a welcome return. I am really looking forward to running there, the support from the crowds in the North East is always great, so I hope people turn out in force."

Radcliffe's main intention is to run the marathon at the Athens Olympics but she has not ruled out competing in the 10,000m and she will be chasing the Olympic qualification mark of 31:45 for the distance in Gateshead. And, according to The Times, the European Cup is still being considered as part of her schedule for the summer, where the 3000m or 5000m could be a possibility. The last time she competed for Britain in the European Cup was 2001. 

Europa cup

 

Pre-race, Europa Cup: Olympic gold medal hopeful Paula Radcliffe will find out what sort of form she is in when she runs at the Spar European Cup on Sunday. The 30-year-old contests the 5,000m - her first track race for 22 months.

"I am looking forward to getting back on the track and hope it will bring out the best in me," said the Briton.

"This is a good stepping-stone for Athens and fits in well with my preparations. It's a natural time to ease off and find out where I am at."

Radcliffe's last appearance came when finishing second in a 10km road race in Puerto Rico on 29 February. Her preparations were hit by a hernia operation in March, so the world marathon record holder is not putting herself under too much pressure.

"I have not set any time targets," said Radcliffe.

"I just want to go out and have a good run although I am aiming to win the race because we are going to need all the points we can get.

"The main thing is I am planning to enjoy it and run well."

Radcliffe will follow-up her run in Poland by taking part in the 10,000m at the Gateshead Grand Prix next weekend. But she does not have any more race meetings planned ahead of Athens, where she could attempt a marathon and 10,000m double. Nonetheless, Radcliffe is confident she is in good shape after spending most of the winter at her French training base in Font Romeau.

"I am pleased with how the training has been going," she said.

"I am preparing for the marathon but I also want to be entered in the 10k in Athens. I have been on the track about once a week and all my other work has been on the trails and the roads."

Steve Cram says: "The European Cup ticks a few boxes for Paula - it's not a Grand Prix event, so she won't be running against the Ethiopians, but at the same time no-one will write it off as a nothing sort of race.

"She can go to Poland, run her own race in a low-pressure environment, hopefully come away with a comfortable win and let her rivals know she's back and healthy.

"She'll run hard, and she'll have a time target in her own mind, because the one thing she has missed out on in the last year is races, but there will no pressure to set world-leading times."

Britain's women were today relegated from the top division of the European Cup. They finished last in their group at the event in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and will now have to win their place back among European's elite eight countries next season. It is the first time since 1965 that Britain have been out of the top league of this competition and their drop down came, ironically, on an afternoon when Paula Radcliffe produced one of her greatest performances.

The women's team captain was the only women's winner of the whole weekend when she broke the British and Commonwealth record in the 5000m.  But her performance could not prevent the team from finishing last with 63 points behind Spain, with 66, who were also relegated. Greece survived with 79 in sixth place in a competition won by Russia with 142.
Radcliffe said:
"We are disappointed, we have had a lot of bad luck. We will just have to make sure we come back next year."

Her run stole the show on the whole weekend. It was the last individual track race and she showed what form she is in so close to the Olympic Games in Athens. While Radcliffe, the world record holder at the marathon, has that event as her top priority in Greece, she may double up with the 10,000m.

Today was the first time she had raced on the track since she won the European 10,000m title in August 2002 and she triumphed again in style.  Winning in 14.29.11, Radcliffe beat her personal best of 14:31.42, aswell as the Commonwealth, British and Cup records.  She was so far ahead of the field that she lapped two of her opponents and in second place was Liliya Shobukhova, of Russia, as far back as in 14.52.19.

Radcliffe looked her old self, dominating the race in the only way she knows.  She reached 1000 in 2:51, 4000 in 11:35.21 and at the bell, she had clocked 13.20.82. She wanted to go quicker, even though she ended with a new best time.

She said:
"The main thing is to keep an eye on the big picture which is Athens. Everything is a stepping stone to that.

"I am upset because I slowed down at the end. I knew I was in good shape but the thing is that you have to translate it to the track. I got a bit carried away early on in the race and I was too fast in the first couple of laps.

"I only came down from altitude on Thursday night and I should be fresher by next week.

"I have missed racing and I was really pleased to be back on the track because it brings the best out in me."

Radcliffe is now the fastest woman in history at the marathon, the second fastest in the 10,000m and the third quickest in the 5000m.

 

 

Norwich Union, Gateshead

Paula won the 10,000m in Gateshead, after lapping every other competitor in the field at least once. She achieved the Olympic 10,000m qualifying mark, although was annoyed, as her pace maker dropped out at 2000m in the windy conditions, leaving Radcliffe with no cover from the elements. She had been hoping to dip under 30 minutes, but her time of 30:17.15 was not quite enough, although she did eclipse her own European record.  It was still, however, the fastest time of the year.

Norwich Union, Gateshead

The 10,000m qualifying mark will mean that if something goes wrong in her marathon preparations she will be able to contest the shorter distance and offering the chance to make up for an agonising fourth-place finish in that event four years ago. She assures the media, however, that she will not attempt a double. She insists the marathon represents her sole Olympic focus, though says she is still keen to taste glory on the track.

"Everybody thinks of me as a marathon runner but the track is still important to me," Radcliffe said. 

"As an athlete there is unfinished business on the track and it's important to go on and win medals and major championships. I'm a stronger person now and have more confidence - and that is the big factor the marathon has brought me.

"I always believed I could run a good marathon but just to be able to think at times that I am the best in the world is great. That, without being big-headed about it, gives me confidence and I hope to translate that to the track."

 

Pre-race, Athens Olympics 2004:

Radcliffe's preparations are now at their peak and her gruelling training schedule at her Font Romeu base sees her putting in 160 miles every week, including morning and afternoon runs.

But the determination born out of her disappointment in Sydney, where she led for 20 laps of the 10,000m final before being passed by Derartu Tulu, Gete Wami and Fernanda Ribeiro, has helped her relish the punishing training regime.

"It is tough and there are some days when I would like to go shopping or meet a friend for coffee, but I don't do that when I'm in a hard stage of preparation," Radcliffe said.  

She added: "If I'm going to do something I'm going to do it properly and give it everything. There will be plenty of time to do other things when my career is finished - and I enjoy doing what I do."

 

Radcliffe's secret pre-Athens camp

PAULA RADCLIFFE says she will not race again before the Athens Olympic marathon. Instead, she will head to a secret location to complete her last-minute preparations.

Radcliffe is currently training at altitude in Font Romeu in France, but on the eve of the Games she will ignore the official British Olympic Association holding camp in Cyprus in favour of a venue that only a handful of people will be aware of.

Such is Radcliffe’s focus, it is almost impossible to get an interview with Britain’s No.1 Olympic medal chance at the moment. But writing in the Daily Telegraph, she said: “I’ve also decided not to join the rest of the team at the British Olympic Association holding camp in Cyprus. I will go somewhere for some heat acclimatisation but I’d rather not divulge where that will be.

“I want to replicate what I did before my other marathons in Chicago and London and going to Cyprus doesn’t really fit in with that. I’ll go into the Olympic village in Athens just a couple of days before the marathon on August 22.”

Radcliffe also used her column in the newspaper to criticise the athletes who failed to chase Olympic qualifying times at the AAA Championships in Manchester. “This was especially true in the men’s 800 and 1500 metres and even the women’s 800m,” she said. “Manchester was the place to run hard and they didn’t do it. I know the weather made conditions difficult but, in that situation, you just have to get on with it. That’s what I would have done.”

She also gave an insight into life in Font Romeu. “My physical therapist, Gerard Hartmann, gives me a massage twice a day. He works on my legs and back, my arms if I’ve done weights and my neck, and the massages can take two hours in the morning and up to an hour and a half in the evening.

“I catch up with things on the internet and watch the news and Eastenders on television but the training, sleeping and physiotherapy takes up most of the day and does not leave me much time for anything else.”

 

Athens Olympic Marathon

Paula Radcliffe pulled out of the Olympic marathon at the 36km mark as the scorching heat and humidity left her exhausted and unable to carry on. 

The British world record holder and favourite to win was leading for the first 15km, but then slipped to fourth and stopped, looking very distressed. She bravely tried to restart, but stopped again and finally gave up. 

Radcliffe, who skipped this year's London marathon to concentrate on Olympic training, finished just seven kilometres from the end, and sat slumped on the side of the road with her head in her hands. "I just feel I have let everybody down." she said

Two hours earlier it had all looked very promising for Radcliffe, but she never seemed comfortable in the blazing conditions in Athens. 

In an honest and frank response Radcliffe admitted it wasn’t anything to do with the intense heat or the tough nature of the course (although the temperature was 36 degrees).

"The conditions were tough but I can't use them as an excuse as they were the same for everyone and I had prepared for them," said Radcliffe. "I do not feel the heat was a factor or the hills but I got the stage where there was nothing left in my legs and I’m struggling to find a reason for that and I’m totally devastated.

"I had trained for the conditions and should have been able to cope.

"I was not dehydrated or in distress from the heat. I have been training in Spain and it was as hot there and more humid and I coped with that.

I felt good in the first part. I intended to put in the effort and felt good on top of the hills.

"I had stomach problems at the 15k mark and had a bad patch when the other two girls broke away from me.

"I felt better when I got back into second and believed the gap was not too big and that if I could hold it together I could reduce it.

"Then I was running on the side of the road and hitting the bumps. It wasn’t like part of me was hurting, all of me was. At the end I was struggling to actually stay on the road; I was drifting to the sides all the time.

"It wasn’t a lack of preparation. I have had pressure before and the biggest pressure comes from myself. There is always more pressure before an Olympics and I was more nervous but that’s no excuse.

"I think that was the first time I've dropped out of a race before. I still had 6km to go and I didn't think I could make it. At that stage my legs were just numb. I think maybe that I was going backwards and I was out of the medals was another kicking point. Soemties when you stop you can't start again. I couldn't keep running or walking. I couldn't, I couldn't do that. I didn't know what happened. It wasn't something I'd rehearsed, and I didn't know what to do. It's just so hard."

"Physically I'm OK. Mentally I'm just trying to pick up the pieces now.

"I gave as much as I could give."

The race was eventually won by Japan's Mizuki Noguchi who took the gold in two hours 26 minutes and 20 seconds. Kenyan Catherine Ndereba took silver, and America's Deena Kastor clinched bronze. 

 

Pre-race Athens 10,000m - British athlete Paula Radcliffe has delayed her decision on whether to take part in the Olympic 10,000m until Friday - the day of the race. Paula is on the entry list for the race but that doesn't mean she will run.

The 30-year-old has been agonising over the decision after pulling out of the marathon on Sunday, despite being the world record holder in the event.

"I desperately want to redeem something but I'm not going to put myself in the arena if I'm not right," Paula said. "It is not a decision I am going to make in the next 24 hours. Emotionally and physically I need time to make a decision. I came to run and win the marathon."

The Team GB athletics manager said: "It's now up to her whether she runs, but she does have the opportunity to pull out at any time before the race.

"Paula trained twice yesterday and she'll know better than me what kind of state she is in."

Paula dropped out of Sunday's marathon with four miles to go. "I was struggling to stay on the road and I felt numb," she said.

 

Athens Olympic 10,000m

There was more Olympics heartache for Paula Radcliffe when she pulled up in her second race in a week. (The most watched event of the games - BBC-12.8million viewers).

The 30-year-old British runner dropped out of Friday's 10,000m with nine of the 25 laps left to go.

‘No, it is not the same as the marathon,” she said afterwards.

"I felt better within myself tonight but my legs just haven't recovered from the marathon. There just wasn't anything in them," she told the BBC.

 “My legs were too beaten up after the marathon. The body just hadn't recovered form the beating-up it took on Sunday. I just hadn't recovered enough. 

“If I had been right I would have won that. But tonight my legs were just too sore. I just couldn't do it.

“I wasn't so much exhausted, my quad has just seized up. I wanted to get in there because I felt I could finish in the medals.

'I promised the medical staff, I promised my coach and my physio I wasn't going to do myself physical damage. I wasn't going to run myself into the ground.  I need to get some answers of what's happened and I need to give the body a chance to recover from the beating it's taken physically and mentally.”

Whether or not Radcliffe could have out-sprinted China’s Huina Xing of China, who won in a personal best of 30mins 24.36secs, leaving Paula's run in Gateshead as the Wordl leading time, we’ll never know.

She looked easy enough early on as the large field dawdled around the early laps, sitting nicely placed in fourth place. On the sixth lap she briefly took the lead but was then swallowed up by the pack.

The Ethiopian trio then began to crank up the pace and by the three-mile mark Radcliffe was hanging on at the back of 10-strong group.

By the 15th lap of 25 she had been dropped and a lap later she had dropped to 13th and took the decision to end her race.

 

"I will be back but I must give my body time to get over that."

She is believed to have hinted she will not return for the world half marathon in New Delhi on October 3. And she is also not expected to run in either the Chicago or New York marathons in November.

Radcliffe is believed to have returned to England rather than going back to her training base in Fort Romeau in the French Pyrenees.

RADCLIFFE SET FOR RETURN
Paula Radcliffe will make her first appearance in a competitive race since her Olympic nightmare when she competes in Run London 2004 on 28 November.

Radcliffe, who failed to finish both the marathon and the 10,000m in Athens, will be making her fourth appearance in the 10km event and holds the record.

She said: "After Athens it will be a real joy to come back to the capital and run again for the first time.

"I have received amazing support there and am really looking forward to it."

The event, to be run in the evening darkness, attracts around 30,000 runners and will take in some of the capital's most famous landmarks.

Radcliffe, who won last year's race in Richmond Park in a time of 30 minutes 50 seconds, added: "It's great to have the opportunity to run in London again, especially as it is at night.

"The course is going to look spectacular with all the London landmarks that we'll be passing, Tower Bridge in particular."

 

RADCLIFFE NO LONGER RUNNING SCARED

Some might have got as far away from the day job as possible; most, surely, would have headed for the beach, put their head down for a number of weeks and allowed the mental wounds to begin mending gently in the sun. Paula Radcliffe’s way of dealing with being the headline failure of the Athens Olympics was to get out there and run.

She has not taken a day’s holiday. She had to wait a week for her shattered body to be able to handle the physical demands of running again but, last Tuesday, for instance, she did an 80-minute session, the day before she did a track session in the morning and another run in the afternoon. She is with Gary Lough, her husband, in Flagstaff, a small Arizona town where barely anyone recognises her and where even fewer ask what happened in Athens. With the comfort of anonymity, she is preparing to race again. It is by doing again what she knows she does best that she feels she can give the healing process a real chance.

“If you go on holiday, you go to relax and be happy and I wasn’t in that state of mind,” she said. “I needed to get on with it and I wanted to get back running, my mind wanted to get back racing hard straight away. The only problem was that my body wasn’t able.”

Indeed, over a phone line from the United States, Radcliffe makes it abundantly clear that she intends to view Athens as a blip that she will do everything in her power to erase. The World Championships in Helsinki next summer stand out. What event, she is not sure, but she will be there. The Beijing Olympics in 2008, too.

Among the legions of experts who have been located for an opinion, a small army has wondered whether she would ever be the dominant force in women’s distance running again. Radcliffe is unfazed by this argument. The Olympic dream? “There’s still plenty of opportunity to do that,” she replied. “I’ve never doubted the fact that I will be back and that I will be able to run as well as I had done before.”

This may sound like a woman in control of the traumas after that most public of Olympic disappointments, but Radcliffe knows that she is by no means over it, she concedes that she may never be and that she had to flee to the United States to give herself a chance.

She had wanted to stay at home longer. After Athens, she went to her parents house in Bedford and then to her own home in Loughborough, but found herself “getting into a depressed state”. She says that she felt “ashamed” (“irrationally, because I knew I’d done my best, but I did feel it”) and it took her a week before she was prepared to go out. “I didn’t read all the papers — I couldn’t have handled that — but I knew what was going on,” she said. “It had got to the stage where the papers were running polls on whether I should run the 10,000 metres. So I knew what was going to happen.”

Her first time out of the house was for a run, the second was to go to the supermarket. “I had people coming up a lot, I just about managed to get my trolley round without a crowd,” she said. “I don’t want to criticise — the majority were very kind, supportive — but they were prolonging the agony, making it a lot harder to get over. It was always there. There was no getting away from this big, whole ‘Olympics disaster’ thing. And it will be there for a while. But certain things make it easier to get over it, like being anonymous.

“So I left the country. It had been made into such a big deal. You have to distance yourself from it and put things into perspective and that’s hard when everybody’s coming up and acting like someone’s just died.”

It is interesting to hear Radcliffe using such language, because one of the criticisms she faced is that she had become such a single-track vehicle for athletic success and that she had lost perspective herself. Is she too cocooned?

“Things have to change because of your situation,” is her response. “When I was a kid, if I had a bad run, I’d ignore it and the next day I could do what I wanted and the whole nation wouldn’t be judging me and making me a front-page story. Life has got to change a little bit.”

Among her supporters, Kelly Holmes is still regularly texting her, Steve Cram, Ingrid Kristiansen and Denise Lewis have been particularly helpful and Darren Campbell “gave me a big hug and said, ‘You’re a champion and you always will be’.” A phone call from Charlie Spedding, the 1984 London Marathon winner, summed it up. He said that he had been inundated with media callers asking what he thought had happened to her, why and whether she would ever be the same again. His answer — which he reserved for her alone — was that he believed she would be back, as strong as ever.

This is Radcliffe’s belief, too, but to sustain it, she just wants to get out there and run. She is doing plenty of that in Flagstaff, but then she wants a race. Not a race where people are lining up to judge her, to assess whether she is as good as new, but where she can simply enjoy the business of racing. Thus she will compete in Run London, a ten-kilometres race on November 28. Before that, her autobiography will be published — Paula: My Story So Far — the implication being that there is plenty more to come.

There was nothing final about Athens, at least that is her theme. “I can’t keep dwelling on it,” she said defiantly. “It probably will stay with me. But I’m not going to let it stop me being the person I am. I am not going to let it destroy me.”

 

RADCLIFFE LOOKS AHEAD TO BEIJING

Britain's Paula Radcliffe is determined to run in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 - and she has also targeted the 2012 Games which could be staged in London.

Radcliffe had a disastrous Athens Games, failing to finish in either the marathon or 10,000m.

"It was never a case of if I get what I want in Athens I will back off," the 30-year-old insisted.

"I always wanted another Games. I hope to make 2012 too, maybe not at the same level but I hope to make the team."

Radcliffe told the Daily Mail newspaper that the misery of Athens had given her a new incentive.

"Underneath it all, it has made me more determined to come back and show what I can do," she said.

"I've had a lot of criticism for not slowing down and continuing but I don't think I could have carried on whatever the pace.

"I like to think the critics won't change me but probably you grow a more protective shell around yourself."

 

RADCLIFFE STILL ON TRACK TO SIGN NEW DEAL WITH NIKE

 

BROKERS behind Paula Radcliffe’s lucrative sponsorship agreement with Nike have denied that the athlete is to be dropped by the sportswear company. Radcliffe’s four-year deal expires at the end of the year and, in the light of her disappointment at the Olympic Games in Athens, when she failed to complete either the marathon or the 10,000 metres, rumours have surfaced that Nike was thinking twice about renewal.

But, far from being kicked when she is down, it appears the distance runner will almost certainly be offered a more lucrative deal that will see her wearing the famous swoosh for years to come. The existing contract is worth £600,000 over four years, with a portion donated to a foundation for youth athletics.

Nike began its sponsorship with Radcliffe at the beginning of 2001, when she was yet to break the women’s marathon world record and become a global star. The company dropped Kelly Holmes at the same time, a decision that caused much acrimony and Holmes pointedly wore kit stripped of its logos during the indoor season in 2001. Holmes subsequently signed a deal with Reebok.

There has been a suggestion in recent weeks that Nike was going to reverse the decision of 2001 and seek to make Holmes the face of its athletics sponsorship in the United Kingdom, now that she is the 800 metres and 1,500 metres Olympic champion.

“It’s not true, there is no truth in it whatsoever,” Sian Masterton, Radcliffe’s agent, said. “We’re in discussions to continue and that’s the aim for both sides. We obviously cannot talk about the negotiations at the moment because it’s confidential. Her commercial value has not gone down.”

A Nike spokesperson said: “Nike have had a fantastic relationship with Paula. She’s a tremendous athlete and we look forward to working with her in the future.”

And a source close to the company put it rather stronger than that, adding: “It would be foolish to sever a relationship with an athlete still considered to be the best middle and long-distance runner in the country.”

The source said that negotiations for the new contract were yet to begin with Gary Lough, Radcliffe’s husband and trainer, but that it will be renewed and for more than the previous deal because Radcliffe has a far higher profile than in 2001.

Radcliffe has not run competitively since the Olympics but organisers of the Tokyo marathon, on November 21, are trying to tempt her, although she must be a certainty to compete in the Nike 10km race on November 28.

 

NEW YORK MARATHON

Pre-race:

RADCLIFFE TO RUN NEW YORK MARATHON 

Paula Radcliffe will make a return to competitive action at the New York City Marathon on 7 November. It will be the 30-year-old's first race since she emotionally dropped out of both the marathon and the 10,000m at the Olympic Games.

Radcliffe had planned to make a low-key return at the Run London 10k at the end of November but decided to change her plans after some encouraging training in the US.

Radcliffe will face an already outstanding women’s field that includes 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist Deena Kastor, defending ING New York City Marathon Champion and course record holder Margaret Okayo, last year’s third place finisher Lornah Kiplagat, and reigning World Cross Country Champion Benita Johnson.

“Paula’s entry has made a truly great ING New York City Marathon field even better,” said Race Director and New York Road Runners President and CEO Allan Steinfeld. “Paula has a record of fine performances here in New York, and we anticipate her ING New York City Marathon debut will be no exception.”

“I’m really looking forward to coming to race in New York. I’ve enjoyed running there before because of the great atmosphere and the warm welcome I’ve received,” said Radcliffe. “After the disappointment in Athens, it’s important to me to get back to enjoying racing. That’s why I want to come to New York."

But Radcliffe goes to New York in confident mood after a successful four-and-a-half week spell training in America. It will be the fifth marathon Radcliffe will have run, having done brilliantly in the three before Athens.

She set the world record in Chicago two years ago, which is one of the reasons she was tipped for gold at the Olympics.

The Loughborough-based athlete also insists she has put the physical and mental scars of the Athens Games behind her.

Radcliffe crashed out of the Athens marathon at the 23-mile mark as the humid conditions took their toll. Five days later, the Briton failed to finish the 10,000m at the Olympic Stadium because of physical fatigue.

The Athens marathon was the first time Radcliffe had failed to win over the distance after victories in 2002 at London and Chicago and London again in 2003.

She set the world record over 26.2 miles at the 2003 London Marathon in a time of two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds.

 

 

RADCLIFFE GAMBLES ON NEW YORK RETURN

PAULA RADCLIFFE took another considerable gamble with her career yesterday when it was announced that she would run in the New York City Marathon on Sunday week. It is less than three months since Radcliffe failed to finish either the marathon or the 10,000 metres at the Olympic Games in Athens but, if there are any lingering effects of that traumatic experience, she is doing her best to disguise them.

It may not be as common a view as it once was that an athlete needs several months to recover between marathons, given the advances in medical support, diet and training methods, but Radcliffe’s decision still came as a surprise to even those closest to her. She came back from a run one day last week to reveal her intentions and admitted that Alex Stanton, her coach, was “shocked at first”

Stanton, though, according to Radcliffe, could see by her training that she was in shape to tackle the race while Gary Lough, her husband, gave her plan “enthusiastic” support. Having been invited by New York officials to be a guest at the race, she astonished them when she responded by saying she would like to race. The deal was done only on Saturday and even her competitors were not told until Monday.

After rest and two weeks’ easy running since returning from Athens, Radcliffe built up her mileage gradually to the point that, during four weeks’ training in Flagstaff, Arizona, she sensed she had recovered her full powers. New York will be her fifth marathon after she won London on her debut in April 2002 and set world records in Chicago six months later and in London in April 2003.

The dramatic nature of Radcliffe’s Olympics prompted Carey Pinkowski, the race director of the Chicago Marathon, to say that her appearance fee for her next marathon would be more likely to go up than down because the interest there would be in whether she could make a successful comeback. New York is likely to be paying her some $300,000 (about £163,000) to be on the start line.

Radcliffe, though, insisted that money played no part in her thinking. “It is not about the money with me, it is about what fits in with my running career,” she said. “I do not see it as a business, it’s a hobby, and I race where I want to race. I would not put myself into this situation if I was not confident I could do myself justice.”

Asked whether she was prepared emotionally for the possibility of a poor performance in New York, in the wake of her futile gamble of running the Olympic 10,000 metres only five days after failing to finish the marathon, Radcliffe said: “You never think that is going to happen and you do not usually race when you are in a position that you might (fail). The aim is to win but the most important thing is to enjoy it. I have moved on and I am looking forward to racing again.”

So, only ten weeks after leaving Athens in despair, Radcliffe will take on a formidable field over the toughest course of the big five marathons — the others being London, Chicago, Boston, and Berlin. Deena Kastor, the Olympic bronze medal-winner, who also feels that it is not too soon after Athens for another marathon, Margaret Okayo, the course record-holder, and Benita Johnson, the world cross-country champion, will line up against the Briton.

As an indication of the demands that the New York course places on runners, Radcliffe’s world record of 2hr 15min 25sec, set in London, is significantly faster than the Big Apple’s course record of 2:22.31, held by Okayo. It is notable for its undulating finish in Central Park and Alan Storey, the technical director for endurance for UK Athletics, said: The sting in the tail of New York adds even greater risk than other events.”

Asked whether New York offered her a chance of redemption, she said: “I do not think you could pick any race for redemption other than in four years’ time, when I get my next chance at the Olympics.” Or worried she may not be able to run another fast marathon? “No,” she said. “It’s a brief answer, but the answer is no.”

 

PAULA DEFENDS NEW YORK RETURN

Paula Radcliffe has defended her decision to run in the New York Marathon on Sunday, just 10 weeks after her disappointment at the Olympics. 

She insists she is not taking part to make up for not finishing the marathon and 10,000m at the Games in Athens.

She said: "I haven't got anything to prove. It's something I always wanted to do but didn't fit into my plans.

"It's not as if I'm doing anything unusual. I'm just moving on to the next stage of my career."

Radcliffe said her training had gone so well that it had made up her mind to run.

"I had planned being in New York with Gary (Lough, her husband and manager) anyway," she said.

"Allan Steinfeld, the race director, had already invited us to attend the event as his guests.

"Then, after training so well in Flagstaff, I felt I was ready to run a marathon. So Gary asked him about it and I was given a place.

"I'm certainly not trying to prove anything. I can't change what happened in Athens and I have to move forward and do what I believe is right for me."

Radcliffe will face a strong field in New York including Olympic bronze medallist Deena Kastor, fifth-placed Lornah Kiplagat and defending New York champion Margaret Okayo.

Radcliffe's late entry into the race came as a surprise to Kastor, who said she had no doubt that Radcliffe remained a formidable opponent.

"I'm not putting any limitations on what she can do," said Kastor. "She's an amazing athlete and I wouldn't put any mental challenge or barriers in her way."

 
RADCLIFFE RETURNS TO RACING

UK ATHLETICS

Paula Radcliffe is hoping to finally start putting behind her the trauma of what happened in the Olympics in Athens when she makes her comeback in the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

The surprise decision of the Bedford runner to enter the race at such notice has divided experts within the sport. But Radcliffe herself is convinced she is not taking any risk.

“I went through the whole process of wondering if I would be criticised but running this race has always been an aim,” she said.

It will be the first time the 30-year-old Briton has raced since dramatically dropping out of the marathon in Athens and then, five days later, doing the same thing in the 10,000m.

“Athens is something that happened and I have to live with it,” said Radcliffe. “I’ve come through the worst but the Olympics are never going to be a happy memory. Nothing’s going to make up for what happened there but at the same time it’s not going to ruin my life.”

Radcliffe had been scheduled to make her comeback at the Nike 10k  in London on 28 November but decided to run here first after getting back from a training run in Flagstaff, Arizona, one day two weeks ago.

“In any case I had planned being in New York with Gary (Lough, her husband and manager),” she said. “Allan Steinfeld, the race director, had already invited us to attend the event as his guests. Then, after training so well in Flagstaff, I felt I was ready to run a marathon. So Gary asked him about it and I was given a place.

“I’m certainly not trying to prove anything. I can’t change what happened in Athens and I have to move forward and believe what is right for me. I’m just doing my job. I haven’t got anything to prove, it’s something I always wanted to do but in the past it did not fit into my plans. It’s not as if I'm doing anything unusual. I’m just moving on to the next stage of my career.”

Radcliffe has discovered that her reacting badly to some medication she was taking to treat an injury caused her problems in Athens and is confident that the situation will not arise again in New York.

“There is no mental problem,” she said. “I can't just rest - that will destroy me. It’s a fact that other athletes do recognise ups-and-downs and it does happen to everyone. I had it go wrong for me at the wrong time. For three weeks after Athens, I had up-and-down feelings. But going to Flagstaff put that behind me. Now I’m back doing what I enjoy. I feel happy and just running again helps put the past behind me.”

Radcliffe will face a field of the highest quality. It is led by Deena Kastor, the Olympic Bronze medallist, and also includes Kenya’s defending New York and London Champion Margaret Okayo, Australia’s World Cross Country Champion Benita Johnson and Holland’s Lornah Kiplagat, who beat Radcliffe at a 10km race in Puerto Rico nine months ago.

“It’s a really good field and I’m looking forward to just racing again,” said Radcliffe. “Deena, Margaret and Lornah are tremendous runners and it will be interesting to see what Benita does.”

As owner of three of the four fastest times in marathon history, including the World record of 2:15:25sec, Radcliffe was the clear favourite in the Greek capital and will assume that familiar position in the Big Apple.

“The whole world is usually watching when I race and I’ve reached a point where I’ll do what’s right for me and not worry about what others think,” said Radcliffe.

Radcliffe’s autobiography ‘Paula My Story So Far’, published by Simon & Schuster, is out on 15 November.  Her remarkable life story of highs and lows is fully chronicled in this fascinating and inspiring book.

Race:
RADCLIFFE MAKES A WINNING COMEBACK

Paula Radcliffe has won the New York marathon, her first since failing to get gold in Athens.

It's just ten weeks since she tearfully dropped out of the marathon and 10,000m at the Olympics in Greece.

The win is a great comeback for Paula after lots of people thought she hadn't had time to fully recover.

She was headed the pack throughout her first New York race, and after a thrilling sprint finish against Kenyan Susan Chepkemei, grabbed victory.

She planned to start running again with a smaller race in London, but her training went so well she decided to go for a marathon.

She added before the race : "I can't change what happened in Athens and I have to move forward and do what I believe is right for me."
 


Read & post your comments on Paula's race

 

 
BBC SPORT: By Derek 'Robbo' Robson

Paula's Pick-Me-Up

So our golden girl - oh no that's Kelly Holmes isn't it? - anyway our Queen of the Road, she's got her crown back in New York in great style and what a delight it is to see.

Well, actually, seeing Paula's running style is not delightful - it looks like a second-rate escapologist trying to wriggle out of a strait-jacket.

But she did it, by God, and proved to the world what we still all know: she's the best marathon runner in the world unless it's uphill, in smog, at 40 degrees centigrade when, let's be frank, only a moron would be out jogging.

 
RADCLIFFE ENJOYS A WINNING COMEBACK

Paula Radcliffe made a triumphant return to competitive running with victory in the New York Marathon.

The Briton, running for the first time since dropping out of the Olympic marathon and 10,000m, held off Kenyan Susan Chepkemei in a thrilling finish.

The pair were locked together for the last few miles before Radcliffe finally sprinted clear to win in two hours, 23 minutes and 10 seconds.

"It's a good way to end the year," she said. "I'm ready for a good rest now."

Radcliffe decided only recently to run in the race and many had doubted whether she had sufficiently recovered from her Olympic ordeal just 11 weeks ago.

But the world record-holder was prominent at the head of the field for the whole race as her rivals slowly dropped off the pace.

Just Chepkemei and Radcliffe were left in contention as the race came into the final few miles.

The Kenyan put in several bursts of speed to throw off Radcliffe but the Briton managed to hang in.

Both runners looked to be suffering as they reached the final mile in Central Park.

But it was Radcliffe who managed to dredge up a final sprint to see off Chepkemei in the closest finish in the race's history and in the process make a huge step in erasing the disappointment she suffered in Athens.

 

 

RADCLIFFE'S WIN EASES ATHENS AGONY

Paula Radcliffe says victory in the New York Marathon has let her move on after failing to land Olympic gold.

The Briton told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It won't wipe out what happened in Athens. Nothing will ever make up for that.

"But I'm moving on with my life, and this win is a good way to start."

She added that she never considered retirement even in her darkest days after the Olympics. "It never crossed my mind," she said.

"I knew there were reasons for what happened in Athens, and that once I got over those I'd be back to being myself again."

Radcliffe outfoxed Kenya's Susan Chepkemei in the final stages in New York to win in a time of two hours, 23 minutes and 10 seconds.

The time was almost eight minutes off her world record but she said: "That doesn't matter at all. Coming here and winning was all that really mattered.

"It was about proving anything to anyone - it was just about getting back to doing what I do and enjoying it."

The 30-year-old said she had not suffered like she had at the Olympics when she pulled up exhausted and distraught after 22 miles.

"I felt totally different. I felt totally myself. There was nothing of the dead an empty feeling that I had in Athens."

She paid tribute to the fans who had cheered her on in New York and said the marathon was still her favoured distance.

"There was a hell of a lot of British support out there and thank you very much for that," she added.

"I was just confident in hanging on and running hard in the closing stages to win the race.

"I think the marathon is still my future."

 

RADCLIFFE EYES 10,000m BID

Paula Radcliffe is set to opt to run in the 10,000 metres rather than the marathon at next year's World Championships in Finland.

Radcliffe's best display in the event was when she finished second in the 10,000m in Seville five years ago.

"10K will be my main aim in Helsinki," admitted Radcliffe, who may also run a marathon in the spring after her success in the New York race last week.

"But my other plans are still up in the air, so we'll have to wait and see."

The Flora London Marathon on Sunday 17 April, where Radcliffe set her world record time 19 months ago, is an option for the 30 year old.

But she could instead opt to run in the Boston Marathon which takes place 24 hours later.

Radcliffe has also revealed that she is eager to compete in the next Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

"I was always going to the Olympics there and it looks like being the marathon," she said.

 

RADCLIFFE COULD MISS LONDON FOR BOSTON

Paula Radcliffe could miss the London Marathon next season in a bid to go for the "grand slam" of Big City marathons.

Radcliffe has won in Chicago, London and New York. Victory in Boston would match the achievement of Ingrid Kirstiansen - one of her heroines.

"That's the dilemma and the choice I have to make if I decide to go with a spring marathon," Radcliffe said ahead of Sunday's RunLondon.

"It's one of things I'll have to think through when I go on holiday."

Radcliffe leaves to Mexico for a few weeks next Wednesday, less than a month after winning the New York Marathon.

But she insisted she would not be rushed into a decision over whether to compete in the Boston Marathon on 18 April or in London a day earlier.

"It's a case of deciding which one my heart's in and which one I want to run," she said. "Obviously I can't run both of them and it's a decision I have to make.

"I'm having a holiday where I can think about it and, whether it's world cross country or a marathon, I'll decide that on the break."

Radcliffe will not be running competitively at Nike's RunLondon, instead allowing Olympic 5,000m finalists Jo Pavey and Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan to battle for the top honours.

"Obviously after racing in New York I wasn't ready to run competitively," said Radcliffe, "but I still wanted to take part in the race."

The race begins at 1900 GMT at Surrey Quays and finishes in Southwark Park.

 

2005

Radcliffe says 'yes' to London

January 12, 2005

PAULA RADCLIFFE will compete in April's 25th anniversary race of the Flora London Marathon, writes Steve Landells.

Confirmation the two-time former winner is set to compete in the capital is a massive boost to organisers, who have already assembled arguably the greatest men's field in history.

Radcliffe, who is reportedly receiving £500,000 to run, won London on her marathon debut in 2002, setting a women's only world record of 2:18:56 and the following year shattered the world record in a mixed race in 2:15:25.

With the infamous cobbled section of the race replaced by a fast stretch of road along the Highway and Tower Hill, which could enhance times by between 45 seconds and one minute, many will expect Radcliffe to threaten her own world record.

"I was definitely interested to see the changes that have been made to the London course," said Radcliffe. "I thought it was always a great course but the changes may make it quicker. All of these conditions usually help me to run well there and I don't see why this year should be any different. In perfect conditions I think I can run as fast on my own as with others."

Radcliffe had considered running in April's Boston Marathon in an effort to complete the "Grand Slam" of big-city marathon successes (she has also won the Chicago and New York marathons) but has opted to return for her third London Marathon.

The Bedford athlete has not confirmed which events she will run before London but said March's world cross country championships was "a definite possibility".

"It doesn't get any better than this for the 25th anniversary," said Flora London Marathon race director Dave Bedford. "After announcing the greatest men's field ever we now have the greatest women's distance runner ever."

Bedford said he spent about $2.5m in assembling the elite field, greater than his usual budget of $2m. He explained the next task was to attract Radcliffe's rivals. But it will probably not include Japan's Mizuki Noguchi, who won the Olympic title in Athens when Radcliffe failed to finish the race. Bedford said he believed Noguchi was "unlikely to run a spring marathon."

 

Radcliffe admits to family plans

Paula Radcliffe has admitted for the first time she has put motherhood on hold to pursue her athletics career.

Radcliffe, 31, and husband Gary Lough believe it would be "selfish" to have children while she is still competing.

"I do badly want a family," she told Saturday's The Times Magazine. "But it would be selfish at the moment because we move around so much."

She added: "Both of us want, when we have kids, for them to be the centre, not my running."

Radcliffe admitted that the couple would have been trying for a baby sooner if she had won the Olympic marathon in Athens.

"We're coming round to it [the idea of having children]," said the marathon world record-holder.

"I don't want to think because of my running I left it too late."

But she also left the door open for an appearance at the Beijing Games in 2008.

"I could carry on after having children; physically it makes your body tougher," she said

 

Radcliffe shrugs off records talk

Britain's Paula Radcliffe has vowed to chase a third London Marathon victory, rather than records, on Sunday.

A £66,000 bonus is on offer to the athlete who can smash Radcliffe's women's-only mark of two hours 18 minutes and 56 seconds set in 2002.

Radcliffe also holds the world record of 2:15:25, but organisers want her debut mark to be the focus as they push to get women's times recognised.

But Radcliffe said: "I don't care about the money. I just want to win."

Women's-only performances on the track are accredited by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) - but marathon times are not.

And race director David Bedford insisted it was London's choice to highlight that fact. He said: "The decision of the kind of race it will be is one for the London Marathon. There were no discussions with Paula or Gary (Lough) - her husband and manager. It was entirely our call."

However, Radcliffe has refused to rule out bettering the global mark she set on London's streets in 2003.

The Bedford star revealed the leg injury and stomach problems which conspired to wreck her Olympic dreams in Athens last summer are now behind her.

A recent 10-week training stint in America has gone well and, she feels, the stage could be set for another sensational run in what will be her third London Marathon - particularly in light of the changes to this year's course. Organisers predict that replacing the notorious Tower of London cobbles with a fast, flat stretch along the Highway - and reversing the Isle of Dogs loop so it is run anti-clockwise - will slash 45 seconds off the elite field's times.

"I want to run as well as I can, enjoy it and win. Nothing else is important," she said.

"But can I better what I did in 2003? Well, I do believe I can get into that shape, might be in that shape. I totally believe that 2:15:25 is on. I could have done it last year and the anticipation is there. I'm looking forward to it and I think the changes do make the course faster.

"Probably the expectations are higher because I've worked very hard in training and you so want it to come together on the day - you need everything to click. But I definitely think the home crowd gives you an advantage. I can't see how it fails to give you a boost because it is just great support out there."

Radcliffe was aided by male pacemakers for most of the distance when she bettered her global record of 2:17.18 set in Chicago in October 2002, by 1.53 in London in 2003.

But this time Kenya women Leah Malot and Restituta Joseph from Tanzania have been contracted to cover only the first half of the race in 1:8.30.

But Radcliffe, by nature a frontrunner, questioned the value of pacemakers at all over a gruelling 26.2 miles.

And she expects 2005's competitive field - which includes Kenyan Susan Chepkemei who pushed Radcliffe all the way in November's epic New York Marathon before the Briton won - will be hard to break down.

"Pacemakers come and pacemakers go," she said. "But you have to stay focused on the race and what your competitive rivals are doing. I'm of the opinion that when I am running alone there is less pressure, you take more risks early on and so might actually run a faster time in perfect conditions. But this time I expect the other runners are going to go with me - they are trying to win the race too."

 

European Cup

Preview: Women's competing captain, Paula Radcliffe, the marathon world record-holder, is doubling up at this year's European Cup. She will run the 3000m on Saturday and the 5000m on Sunday in a squad that also includes Kelly Sotherton, the Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist who is competing in the long jump on Sunday.

The women know the task they have, to finish first of the eight team event which will bring them promotion. Radcliffe commented: “Our women need to be up in the Super League with the men and we are capable of doing that."

She is doubling up after Jo Pavey (3000m) had to be ruled out because she was not 100 per cent fit and Radcliffe said: “The European Cup is a great event and the races will be good to see how my training is progressing in the build up to the world championships.”

In the build up to the competition, Paula Radcliffe (Bedford & County) had stressed the importance of promotion and she played her part by winning the 3000m, the first part of the double she is running with the 5000m tomorrow.

Event number six was always going to be a British banker and it proved that way without any worry as Paula Radcliffe won the 3000m with ease. She recorded a time of 8:50.18 with Alesia Turava of Belarus in second place in 8:55.13 with Ireland's Joleana Byrne third in 9:03.30.

Radcliffe was in a class of her own, powering around how she liked and then revealing that she was running with an injury, from her fall in the 1500m in Oregon last month, that at times forced not to up the ante.

She said:
'My legs were a bit dead today after some physio on my pelvis following the fall. I hope they will have more bounce in them tomorrow as it will be a harder race.  I just sat on the lead I had with three laps to go and then just strided out.'

Radcliffe boosts women's Cup bid

Paula Radcliffe boosted Great Britain's bid for promotion back to the European Cup Super League with a dominant victory over 3,000m in Portugal.

The marathon world record holder was a class above the field, leading from start to finish to come home in eight minutes 50.14 seconds.

Radcliffe will race again over 5,000m on Sunday after stepping in for the injured Jo Pavey over 3,000m.

"I didn't feel great," said Radcliffe. "But it's good to get maximum points."

Radcliffe was intending to use the races in Leiria to assess her form ahead of the summer season.

"My hip was pretty badly locked up after my fall in Oregon," said Radcliffe.

"I came here knowing that I wasn't flying but I just have to knuckle down and get the points for the team."

Radcliffe beaten but GB promoted

Great Britain's women clinched promotion to the European Cup Super League despite a surprising defeat for Paula Radcliffe in the 5,000m.

Radcliffe, who ran in the 3,000m on Saturday, was second in her race.

The troublesome hip that she injured during her fall in Oregon last month had not cleared up and with six laps left, she found herself in second place, over taken by Volha Krautsova of Belarus, who ran a personal best time to win in 15minutes 10.16seconds, a slow time by Radcliffe's usual standards. 

Radcliffe admitted that she was feeling below-par and suffering from a virus, and said she felt she could not pull out because the team was reliant on her contribution to their promotion challenge. 

"I was not sure how far the girl was behind me and I wanted to make sure I finished second for the team."

"It's about getting the points," she said. "I knew I felt kind of flat coming into the weekend.

"I just felt really flat. It's just quite scary because I don't feel like it's me running.

"The main thing is to rest. Hopefully it's just a short-term bug and I'll be fine," added Radcliffe, whose major target this summer is the World Championships in Helsinki in August. 

 

Helsinki

2006

Injured Radcliffe to miss Commonwealth Games

Paula Radcliffe has pulled out of next week's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne because of a foot injury.

The 32-year-old world marathon champion suffered the injury in January after stepping on a rock and has not been able to prepare fully for the Games.

"We feel it would be stupid to compete in Melbourne," said Radcliffe's manager and husband Gary Lough.

Radcliffe won the 5,000m Commonwealth title in Manchester and was favourite to win the 10,000m in Australia.

She has been training for the Commonwealth Games as well as the London Marathon at the high-altitude venue of Albuquerque in New Mexico.

Although she has been able to continue with her marathon preparations, Radcliffe had difficulties with her track sessions - affecting her Melbourne build-up.

"Paula hit a rock when out training and developed a bruised foot and it is taking a long time to settle down," Lough added. "In particular it has been causing problems on the track, constantly flaring up and she cannot do proper flat-out training sessions."

However, Lough insists the marathon world record-holder will be well prepared to defend her London Marathon title on 23 April. "The problem is not affecting her marathon preparations," he added.

London Marathon race director David Bedford says Radcliffe will benefit from only having to focus on one event and believes the decision could help her to break her world record - the two hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds she set in 2003.

"Along with the rest of the country, I'm disappointed she will not be running at the Commonwealth Games.

"Perhaps at the same time, this will help her preparations for the Flora London Marathon," he said.

"I definitely believe she can go much faster. She is capable of running under two hours 15 minutes - but it is a question whether she can run sub 2.14."

Radcliffe missed the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada with a stress fracture while a virus forced her to pull out of the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1998.

Ann Hogbin, England's Chef de Mission at the Commonwealth Games, said: "Naturally we're very disappointed for Paula, particularly as it means she won't have the opportunity to defend the 5000m title she won in Manchester four years ago.

 

Radcliffe to miss London Marathon

Paula Radcliffe has pulled out of this year's London Marathon on 23 April with the same foot injury which forced her to miss the Commonwealth Games.

The 32-year-old world marathon champion has previously won the event three times - in 2002, 2003 and 2005.

"I am really disappointed to have to miss this year's event," Radcliffe said. "I have to accept that the injury needs a short period of total rest."

Radcliffe broke the women's only world record on two occasions in London - in 2002 (2 hours 18 minutes 56 seconds) and 2005 (2:17:42), and also the mixed world record (2:15:25) in 2003.

She returned early from her training base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 10 days ago for expert treatment from top German surgeon Hans Muller-Wohlfahrt in Munich.

But the foot injury - a knock-on effect after she bruised the underside of a toe on a training run last December - means she may have to wait until August before racing again - in defence of her European Championship 10,000m title.

She could then contest an autumn marathon, with Chicago and New York obvious contenders. 

"The Flora London Marathon is something that is extremely important to me, and I have done everything possible to resolve the problem and get to the start line," Radcliffe added.

"But now I have to focus on moving on from this and my future."

Race director David Bedford acknowledged that once Radcliffe withdrew from the Commonwealth Games, her participation in London was always in doubt.

"To race when less than fully fit is simply not the Paula we know and could jeopardise her form for some time," he said.

"We fully understand that this is the right decision and look forward to welcoming Paula back in the future.

"The Flora London Marathon will still serve up two great races on 23 April and, if anything, the women's race will be all the more intriguing."

 

Pregnant Radcliffe to miss Euros

Paula Radcliffe

Paula Radcliffe will not defend her European Championships 10,000m title in Gothenburg next month after announcing she is pregnant.

"I'll continue training at the same level but I definitely will not be doing the European Championships," said the 32-year-old British star.

"I'll be four months pregnant by then and do not want to take any risks.

"I won't compete in top-level competitions but will run some low-key races. We'll see how it goes."

Radcliffe, the European 10,000m record holder, has not raced since New Year's Eve due to a metatarsal injury she suffered stepping on a sharp rock in a training run.

She added that "first and foremost it is important the baby is born healthy", and will not make a major competitive comeback until next year - with the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, in mind.

Radcliffe is undecided as to whether to defend her world marathon title - with the Osaka climate unhelpful to contestants in the endurance event - or the 10,000m.

"Beijing (the 2008 Olympics) is my long-term goal for the marathon," she added.

Radcliffe is surprised people have questioned whether she will carry on competing after her pregnancy, reiterating her desire to compete in the London Olympics in 2012.

Her foot injury deprived her of the chance to defend her Commonwealth Games title in March as well as chase a fourth London Marathon success in April.

"I want to get back running as soon as possible," she told The Times. "I know I'll miss it.

"My recent foot injury made me realise I was never going to decide to reach the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and then give it up to have children, so we decided to give it a go.

"We are ready to be parents and if you are happy, you run better. I have been competing since 1991, so the rest will do me good and it probably won't do my body any harm to be challenged in a different direction.

"Mentally I will have fulfilled one of my life goals, so I will return more mature and with the wisdom that is part of being a mother."

Her husband and manager is Gary Lough, a former British international 1500m runner.

Pregnant Pause - Liz McColgan's comments

 

 

"Paula Raises the Marathon Standard"

Sport and You - Paula Radcliffe

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