© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated
Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe of the UK is taking one more serious run at the distance. Now as a 41-year-old master she will compete in the 2015 Virgin London marathon. She owns the course and world records of 2:15:25 from the 2003 edition as well as the second and third fastest marathon times in history, with her 2:17:18 from Chicago 2002 and 2:17:42 from the 2005 running of the London event.
Of her expectations she told Athletics Illustrated, “I am planning to give London the best shot I can. However, I have to be realistic and understand that my foot function and efficiency is far from that of a normal foot.”
She had surgery in her foot in 2012 to fix a cartilage issue. It is yet to be determined whether Radcliffe will join the mass start or run in the elite field. She will make that decision on January 30th. While she is far and away the fastest marathon runner in history, she is not able to train at the same level as she did in the past due to the issue with her foot, “So while I am up to about 2/3 of my previous usual mileage, my running efficiency will never be as it was,” she shared.
Two-thirds of her former training levels could see her run at a very competitive level in the master age-group. The 40-plus age-category world record is 2:25:45 held by Lyudmila Petrova of Russia. Although the difference from her open world record is 10 minutes, Radcliffe now being a master, will likely put her goal to break a benchmark such as 2:30 or 2:35, which is still a very competitive time. She did not, however, intimate a time goal. “With the foot issue and training at 2/3rds of what I used to, I don’t really have a goal in mind other than to try and run as well as I can and enjoy the experience and the fact that 18 months ago I never ever thought I would be able to reach this point.”
She is a three-time winner of both the London and New York City Marathons, as well as once in Chicago and Helsinki, each. She is also three-time winner of the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships and IAAF World Cross Country Championships. She owns the world record in the 10-kilometre distance on the road from her February 2003 run in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she finished in the time of 30:21.
The Virgin London Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 26th and boasts what is being billed as the most competitive men’s and women’s elite fields in the event’s history and perhaps in marathon history. London is one of the six World Marathon Major events as part of an annual, overlapping two-year series that includes the New York, Berlin, Boston, Chicago and Tokyo marathons.