|Chicago Marathon 2002|
1. World XC
2. London Marathon
3. Commonwealth Games
4. European Championships
5. Chicago Marathon
smashes world record
THERE IS NO FAME WITHOUT PAIN
If you want to be the very best in the world at your chosen sport it comes at a cost and the agony on the face of the current queen of British sport, distance runner Paula Radcliffe this Monday, was all part of the preparation that goes into modern-day success.
A week from this Sunday, Paula will attempt to achieve a goal that has been the focus of her training for the past year. October 13 is her only brother's wedding anniversary. It is also the day that she hopes to become the fastest marathon runner the world has ever seen by completing the Chicago event in less than 2 hours, 18 minutes and 47 seconds.
For the past three weeks she has been under the caring hands of Limerick psyiotherapist, Ger Hartmann.
Last April Paula Radcliffe was the first woman home in the Flora London Marathon, finishing in a time of 2:18:56. She cut 2 minutes 10 seconds off the course record.
Now she is targeting Chicago convinced that her personal physical therapist can guide her to a record run: "Two weeks ago in London, I slipped in the shower and picked up an injury to my right leg. Gerard has now sorted that out and we are just back after a few weeks of high altitude training in Font Romeu in the Pyrenees."
Paula's husband, Gary Lough, also an athlete, sat close to Paula as she underwent the specialist treatment from Hartmann. All three were confident that the Cheshire born 28-year-old can achieve this latest milestone in an outstanding career.
"She's on target," said Ger Hartmann. "She will break the record comfortably if we can keep her injury free between now and Sunday week. She has tremendous fighting spirit and has a particularly high pain threshold."
Paula enjoys here regular visits to Limerick and to Hartmann's sports clinic despite an unsavoury incident with one of our less gracious citizens recently and a 'near miss' with a stray horse while running on the Canal Bank. She is a familiar figure on her daily runs along the Dublin Road and out to the University of Limerick campus.
She has forfeited the lucrative track circuit since the summer to concentrate on Chicago: "I'll follow my usual routine on the build-up to the race. I'll have an ice cold bath that morning to help circulation flow and I'll be wearing my lucky jewellery as usual," she said with her familiar smile.
Should she break the women's marathon record, Ger Hartmann will have played a major role. The Limerickman flies out to Chicago with Paula and her husband Gary next week and will provide the important pre-race physio preparation.
A few hours after the race, Hartmann flies by private jet to attend to a high-profile film star in the States.