This week and at the age of 41 Paula Radcliffe suggested that she is no longer able to keep up with the elite Marathon runners. She isn’t classed as an elite entrant for April’s London Marathon, a race which she suggests will be her last competitive Marathon.
The inevitable decline of such great athletes is often met with sadness, but looking back on her career it’s obvious that Paula Radcliffe is a living legend of a runner. I’m not going to run through her entire career, but I want to highlight all of the distances at which she has held a worlds fastest time at one time or another:
Marathon – 2:15:25. Set in London in 2003, beating her own world record – this is still the world record.
30km and 20 Miles – set during the London Marathon in 2003. To set the fastest 25km time in the world ever during a marathon seems ridiculous.
Half Marathon – 1:05:40. Set in Newcastle in 2003.
20km – 1:02:21. Set in Newcastle during the above half marathon in 2003.
10 miles – 50:01. Set in Chicago in 2002.
15km – 46:41. Set in Puerto Rice in 2003.
10km – 30:21. Set in Puerto Rico in 2003.
5 miles – 24:47. Set in Balmoral in 1999 (this was beaten later that year but Paula held it from April to October).
8km – 24:05. Set in Puerto Rico in 2003.
She has also held the second highest time in the world at 2 miles distance.
When you look down that list of times and distances it’s impossible not to be amazed. For a runner to be second best in the world at 2 miles and the best in the world at the Marathon puts them in living legend status in my mind, and yet, Paula goes even further: – Her Marathon time was such a huge jump that no one has still come close to beating it. At the time, Dave Bedford (the London Marathon race Director) described her time of 2 hours 15 minutes as “the greatest distance running performance I have seen in my lifetime” and it’s hard to think of another that has surpassed it in the 12 years since. These sort of results happen once in a lifetime.
So when Paula takes to the track this April I don’t expect to see a fast time, but I know I’ll see determination and grit that no one else can give – and one thing’s for sure; I won’t feel sad.
Oh and yes she did a poo whilst running – stop asking me this!