Radcliffe: Time right to step back

Published: Thursday 23rd April 2015 by The News Editor

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Paula Radcliffe knows it is time for her to scale back her involvement in athletics after Sunday’s London Marathon – because her eight-year-old daughter told her so.

The 41-year-old will run the same 26.1-mile London route on which she ran a world record of two hours 15 minutes 25 seconds in April 2003 – a mark which still stands today – not as part of the elite field, but among the mass ranks.

Radcliffe, who has had to nurse her body to the start line, will then continue to run, but not as seriously as before.

But even her daughter Isla thought Radcliffe had given up elite competition some time ago.

Relaying a conversation she had with her daughter, Radcliffe said: “I will always go out for runs and things, I just won’t be preparing to be competitive in races and really putting everything into going away on training camps and things like that.

“She looked at me and said ‘But Mummy, you really haven’t been competitive for a few years now’.”

Radcliffe, who has been troubled by foot and Achilles injuries in recent years, was able to laugh.

She was almost in tears when told she will be presented with the inaugural John Disley Lifetime Achievement award after Sunday’s race. The award is named after the London Marathon founder.

“The London marathon inspired me into running,” Radcliffe said.

“I know I am not going to be competitive but to get the chance to take part in this race one more time is something that is really special.”

Radcliffe has had to nurse her body to the start line.

“It’s definitely looking a lot better now than even three weeks ago,” she added.

“It was going really well. I went out in Kenya in February, I thought I was being really careful and not getting carried away, but I probably did start thinking about what times I might be able to run.

“The trails are pretty rocky out there and I tweaked my Achilles. I didn’t think it was that big a deal at first. It took about six weeks to settle down. I’ve been able to run every day since Easter weekend. Not the ideal preparation.

“(But) at least now I feel like I’m going in healthy. I’m going in unfit and unprepared for a marathon, but I’m hoping my body can remember once it gets out there how it’s supposed to do it.”

There was a time she feared she might not be able to feature in her final hurrah.

“I’m lucky I wasn’t running this race to try to run it as fast as I could or to try to win it,” she added.

“If you were being competitive I would’ve pulled out five weeks ago.

“But I’ve just been there so many times and this time I just thought it doesn’t matter, essentially, if I run it in three hours or 2h 45m, just see if I can get healthy and get on the start line.”

Published: Thursday 23rd April 2015 by The News Editor

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