Paula's page is currently being
re-made. Keep checking back for new look!
(she has two houses
in the Midlands) , an
Romeu, France, and
lives for a portion of the year training at altitude in Albuquerque
to Gary Lough
& County AC
& Rosemary Stanton
Lough (also husband)
Class Honours BA European Studies (Loughborough)
French and German fluently and keeps her hand in by doing translations
for the athletics world governing body
Charlotte Radcliffe won an Olympic silver swimming medal at 4x100m
freestyle relay in Antwerp 1920.
London Marathon 03
||7 Oct 2001
||6 Aug 2002
||1 Jul 2001
= on route to
is written across her forehead and laced in her ethics. "I
train hard, it is more than a full time job."
athletic ability and commitment to training are accompanied by a strong belief
in playing by the rules. She has frequently made high-profile condemnations
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
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.
and You - Paula Radcliffe
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."
"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
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!" -
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.
in a blizzard, and having won the world junior title in a Boston snowstorm,
Radcliffe claims an affinity for arduous conditions.
Paula's Junior Achievements
Paula's Early Senior Career
1994 - 1999
Golden Year - 2002
"I just love
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
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
As for earnings, she admits she is the last one to be up to date on that
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
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
Paula set a world
record for 10km on the roads with a superb win in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 30:21 on 23
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
She did this despite arriving
in London nursing cuts suffered in a collision with a cyclist a few weeks
her first pace maker...... and is hot on the heels of the second!
At 22 miles
Crossing the line, and
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Flora light women's
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.
Great North run 2003
She then went on to win the
Run on 21st September in a world best time of 1hr 40 min and 5sec.
at GNR Thanks
to Getty images for pictures
at GNR Thanks
to Newsround for pictures
to Getty images for pictures
World Half marathon
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.
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.
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."
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,"
"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.
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.”
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!
The GB team also
managed to snatch the team gold for the first time in history!
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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.”
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
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
"I hadn't slipped or
anything in training and it isn't something that shouldn't happen on a steady
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
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
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.
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
Steve Cram says:
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
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
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
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
thinks of me as a marathon runner but the track is still important to me,"
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.
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.
without being big-headed about it, gives me confidence and I hope to translate
that to the track."
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,"
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."
secret pre-Athens camp
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
Radcliffe pulled out of the Olympic marathon at the 36km mark as the
scorching heat and humidity left her exhausted and unable to carry
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
stomach problems at the 15k mark and had a bad patch when the other
two girls broke away from me.
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.
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
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
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.
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
30-year-old has been agonising over the decision after pulling out
of the marathon on Sunday, despite being the world record holder in
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
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.
trained twice yesterday and she'll know better than me what kind of
state she is in."
dropped out of Sunday's marathon with four miles to go. "I
was struggling to stay on the road and I felt numb,"
30-year-old British runner dropped out of Friday's 10,000m with nine
of the 25 laps left to go.
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).
‘No, it is not
the same as the marathon,”
she said afterwards.
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.
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
“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.
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."
NO LONGER RUNNING SCARED
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.
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.
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
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.
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
still plenty of opportunity to do that,” she
never doubted the fact that I will be back and that I will be able to run
as well as I had done before.”
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.
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
into a depressed state”.
She says that she felt “ashamed”
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.”
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.
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
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
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.”
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.
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
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.”
LOOKS AHEAD TO BEIJING
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
"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
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.
like to think the critics won't change me but probably you grow a more
protective shell around yourself."
STILL ON TRACK TO SIGN NEW DEAL WITH NIKE
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
TO RUN NEW YORK MARATHON
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
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.”
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
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."
goes to New York in confident mood after a successful four-and-a-half week
spell training in America.
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.
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.
GAMBLES ON NEW YORK RETURN
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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:
sting in the tail of New York adds even greater risk than other
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.”
DEFENDS NEW YORK RETURN
Radcliffe has defended her decision to run in the New York
Marathon on Sunday, just 10 weeks after her disappointment at the
she is not taking part to make up for not finishing the marathon
and 10,000m at the Games in Athens.
"I haven't got anything to prove. It's something I always
wanted to do but didn't fit into my plans.
as if I'm doing anything unusual. I'm just moving on to the next
stage of my career."
her training had gone so well that it had made up her mind to run.
planned being in New York with Gary (Lough, her husband and
Steinfeld, the race director, had already invited us to attend the
event as his guests.
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.
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."
face a strong field in New York including Olympic bronze medallist
Deena Kastor, fifth-placed Lornah Kiplagat and defending New York
champion Margaret Okayo.
late entry into the race came as a surprise to Kastor, who said
she had no doubt that Radcliffe remained a formidable opponent.
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."
RETURNS TO RACING
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.
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.
through the whole process of wondering if I would be criticised
but running this race has always been an aim,” she
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.
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.”
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
“In any case
I had planned being in New York with Gary (Lough, her husband and
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.
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.”
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
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.”
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.
really good field and I’m looking forward to just racing
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
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
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.
MAKES A WINNING COMEBACK
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
The win is a great comeback
for Paula after lots of people thought she hadn't had time to
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."
& post your comments on Paula's race
SPORT: By Derek 'Robbo' Robson
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
ENJOYS A WINNING COMEBACK
Paula Radcliffe made a
triumphant return to competitive running with victory in the New
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.
WIN EASES ATHENS AGONY
Paula Radcliffe says victory in the
New York Marathon has let her move on after failing to land Olympic
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
"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
"It was about proving anything
to anyone - it was just about getting back to doing what I do and
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
"There was a hell of a lot of
British support out there and thank you very much for that,"
"I was just confident in
hanging on and running hard in the closing stages to win the race.
"I think the marathon is still
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
"10K will be my main aim in
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
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
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
"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.
says 'yes' to London
RADCLIFFE will compete in April's 25th anniversary race of the Flora
London Marathon, writes Steve Landells.
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
athlete has not confirmed which events she will run before London but said
March's world cross country championships was "a
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."
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
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
that the couple would have been trying for a baby sooner if she had won
the Olympic marathon in Athens.
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.
could carry on after having children; physically it makes your body
|Radcliffe shrugs off records talk
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."
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
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."
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
"I want to run
as well as I can, enjoy it and win. Nothing else is important,"
"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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.”
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
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.'
boosts women's Cup bid
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
"I didn't feel
it's good to get maximum points."
intending to use the races in Leiria to assess her form ahead of the
"My hip was
pretty badly locked up after my fall in Oregon," said
"I came here
knowing that I wasn't flying but I just have to knuckle down and get the
points for the team."
beaten but GB promoted
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.
that she was feeling below-par and
from a virus, and said she felt she could not pull out because the team
was reliant on her contribution to their promotion challenge.
not sure how far the girl was behind me and I wanted to make sure I
finished second for the team."
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
"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.
Radcliffe to miss Commonwealth Games
Radcliffe has pulled out of next week's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne
because of a foot injury.
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."
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,"
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
"Perhaps at the
same time, this will help her preparations for the Flora London
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
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.
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.
to miss London Marathon
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.
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
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
She could then
contest an autumn marathon, with Chicago and New York obvious
London Marathon is something that is extremely important to me, and I
have done everything possible to resolve the problem and get to the
"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
fully understand that this is the right decision and look forward to
welcoming Paula back in the future.
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
Pregnant Radcliffe to miss Euros
Paula Radcliffe will
not defend her European Championships 10,000m title in Gothenburg next
month after announcing she is pregnant.
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.
compete in top-level competitions but will run some low-key races. We'll
see how it goes."
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
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.
undecided as to whether to defend her world marathon title - with the
Osaka climate unhelpful to contestants in the endurance event - or the
2008 Olympics) is my long-term goal for the marathon,"
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.
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."
and manager is Gary Lough, a former British international 1500m runner.
Pause - Liz McColgan's comments
Raises the Marathon Standard"
and You - Paula Radcliffe
this athlete and anti-doping