Paula Radcliffe

Paula Radcliffe

Infobox Athlete
playername = Paula Radcliffe

country = GBR2
alias =
club = Bedford & County Athletic Club
datebirth = birth date and age|1973|12|17|df=yes
placebirth = flagicon|GBR Davenham, Cheshire, UK
height = height|m=1.73
weight = convert|54|kg|lb st|abbr=on
turnedpro =
retired =
pb = 5000 m: 14:29.11
10,000 m: 30:01.09
Marathon: 2:15:25
olympics = 1996, 5000 m, 5th
2000, 10,000 m, 4th
2004, Marathon, DNF
2004, 10,000 m, DNF
2008, Marathon, 23rd
worlds = 1993, 3000 m, 7th
1997, 5000 m, 4th
1999, 10,000 m, Silver medal
2001, 10,000 m, 4th
2005, 10,000 m, 9th
2005, Marathon, Gold medal
highestranking = 1
coaching =
updated = 25-08-2007

Paula Jane Radcliffe, MBE (born on 17 December, 1973 in Davenham, Cheshire, England) is a British long-distance runner and currently holds several world records. [ [ Running machine] BBC, accessed 07/11/07]

Radcliffe's distinctive "nodding" action while running has made her instantly recognisable to British viewers. She is not known for her sprint finish and relies on setting a punishing pace from the start in order to pull away from her opponents and open an unassailable gap.

In 2002, Radcliffe was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year and in June was awarded an MBE.

Radcliffe now lives as a tax exile in Monaco and is married to her trainer, Gary Lough, a former Irish international 1500 m runner. They have a daughter named Isla born January, 2007.


Early years

Radcliffe was born on 17 December, 1973 in Davenham near Northwich, Cheshire. Her family then moved to nearby Barnton where she attended Little Leigh Primary School. [ [] icCheshireOnline, accessed 21/11/07] Despite suffering from asthma and anaemia she took up running at the age of seven, influenced by her father who was a keen amateur marathon runner and joined Frodsham Athletic Club. Her family later moved to Kingsley. At the age of 12 the family moved to Oakley, Bedfordshire home of David Macintosh where she became a member of Bedford Athletic Club. Her father became club vice-chairman and her mother, a fun-runner, managed the women's cross-country team. [ [,14782,1287835,00.html Radcliffe ready to deliver her own historic message] Guardian, accessed 08/11/07]

She attended Sharnbrook Upper School and Community College with Dan Hall (pro footballer) and studied French, German and Economics at Loughborough University, gaining a first-class honours degree in modern European studies. [ [ Paula's winning streak takes time...] BBC, accessed 08/11/07]

Early career

Her early running success was in cross country events, including the 1992 World Junior title, beating Wang Junxia. She missed the 1994 season through injury, but came back with a succession of good results at 5000 m, including fifth place in both the 1995 World Championships and 1996 Olympic Games. Although a silver-medalist in the 1999 World Championships in Athletics Radcliffe seemed destined never to win a major 5,000 m or 10,000 m title, finishing out of the medals at the 2000 Olympic Games and 2001 World Championships.


World Cross-Country Championships

On 24 March, Radcliffe won the Ostend, Belgium held World Cross Country Championships 2001 title. Radcliffe, who finished in a time of 27:49, said: "It still hasn't really sunk in". Gete Wami, who came in second place said: "No one likes losing, but if anyone deserves to win this title it is Paula. She was great." [ [ Radcliffe takes World Cross-Country title] BBC, 24 March, 2001]


World Cross Country Championships

Held in March in Dublin, Radcliffe defended her title in the Women's Long Race when she won the 2002 IAAF World Cross Country Championships title for a second year. She won in 26min 46sec. [ [ Radcliffe retains X-country title in Dublin] UK Sport, Rob Burgess 25/03/2002]

London Marathon

In 2002, Radcliffe made the move up to the marathon, a decision that immediately paid off with victory at her debut in that year's London Marathon on 14 April, 2002 in a world's best time for a women's only race (2:18:55) [ [ Debut win for Radcliffe] BBC, accessed 06/11/07] Her time was the second quickest in women's marathon history behind the world record of 2:18:47 set by Catherine Ndereba, of Kenya, in Chicago. [ [ Debut win for Radcliffe] BBC, 14 April, 2002]

Chicago Marathon

Later that year, Radcliffe set a world record time of 2:17:18 in the Chicago Marathon on 13 October, 2002, [ [ Radcliffe sets marathon record] BBC, accessed 06/11/07] breaking the previous record by a minute and a half.

Order of the British Empire

She was awarded an MBE in June 2002, making it her sixth medal of the season. She said: "It means a great deal to me, it's a great honour and it really tops off an amazing year. "To come here and receive this and to meet the Queen at the end of it just finishes it off perfectly." [ [ Another medal for Radcliffe] BBC, accessed 06/11/07]

BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Later the same year she also became the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, making her the first woman in over a decade to be honoured with the accolade. Paula thanked her husband Gary Lough, her coach Alex Stanton and her physio, Gerard Hartmann. [ [ Paula Radcliffe is BBC Sports Personality of 2002] BBC, accessed 06/11/07]


London Marathon

Radcliffe is the current world record holder for the women's marathon, which she set during the 2003 London Marathon in April, with a time of 2:15:25. This mark is currently one of the highest scoring performances ever. [ [ Radcliffe smashes record] BBC, accessed 06/11/07] In terms of IAAF world ranking points, at 1307, it is higher in value than Florence Griffith-Joyner's 100 and 200 m records, Marita Koch's 400 m, and Michael Johnsons' 400 m record. This score would equate to between 9.75 s and 9.76 s in the men's 100 m sprint. [ [,printer.html Hicham El Guerrouj and Paula Radcliffe are 2002 Athletes of the Year] accessed 07/11/07] The current world record is 9.69 seconds.

World's Best 10k race

Also Radcliffe is the current world record holder for the women's 10k in a time of 30 minutes and 21 seconds, which she set on February 23, 2003 in the World's Best 10K in San Juan, Puerto Rico. [ [ Paula Radcliffe breaks 10K world record] BBC Newsround, 24 February 2003]

Great North Run

Paula Radcliffe won the Great North Run in a world-best time. She completed the convert|13.1|mi|km|sing=on half marathon course from Newcastle to South Shields in 65 minutes and 40 seconds. [ [ Radcliffe wins Great North Run] BBC, 21 September, 2003]


New York City Marathon

She won the 2004 New York City Marathon in a time of 2:23:10 [ [ Radcliffe enjoys winning comeback] BBC, accessed 06/11/07] , even though not fully prepared (the only occasion that a competitor came within a minute of her). Of the seven marathons Radcliffe has run so far, she has won six and set a record in five, building up a claim to be the best female distance runner of all time in her age group. She has run four out of the five fastest times in history in the women's marathon. After a close race with Kenya's Susan Chepkemei, her greater strength allowed her to pull away to victory at the end. [ [ Radcliffe enjoys winning comeback] BBC, accessed 08/11/07]

Olympic Games in Athens

Radcliffe did not compete in the London Marathon in 2004, but was the favourite to win a gold medal in the marathon at the Olympic Games in Athens. However, she suffered an injury to her leg just two weeks prior to the event and had to use a high dose of anti-inflammatory drugs. This had an adverse effect on her stomach hindering food absorption. The resultant lack of energy and carbohydrates in her system before the start of the race might have led to her distressing withdrawal after 36 km. Five days later she started in the 10,000 metres but, still suffering from the effects of the marathon, retired with eight laps remaining. [ [ Marathon Agony for Radcliffe] BBC, accessed 08/11/07] Radcliffe said "You go through bad stages in a marathon, but never as bad as that", "I've never before not been able to finish and I'm desperately trying to find a reason for what happened", "I just feel numb - this is something I worked so hard for." [ [ Radcliffe baffled by failure] BBC, accessed 08/11/07]

Regarded as Great Britain's best gold medal hope in athletics, her withdrawal made headlines in the UK, with editorial stances ranging from support to negativity, with some newspapers deriding Radcliffe for 'quitting', rather than going on to finish the race [ [ World-record holder fails to finish again] ] . Television pictures showed Radcliffe in a clearly distressed state after dropping out of the marathon. [ [ Fans share Paula's pain] BBC, accessed 08/11/07]


London Marathon

At the 2005 London Marathon she won with a time of 2:17:42, a world's best time for a women's only race by over a minute. The race however is remembered more for a notorious moment towards the end when Radcliffe, feeling hindered by bowel discomfort and in need for a toilet break, stopped and defecated on the side of the road in view of the crowd and TV cameras which broadcast the incident live [cite web| url=| title=Relief all round after Paula pauses on road to glory| date=18 April 2005| publisher="The Scotsman"] . After the race she apologised to viewers and explained what happened, "I was losing time because I was having stomach cramps and I thought 'I just need to go and I'll be fine'. I didn’t really want to resort to that in front of hundreds of thousands of people. [ [ Radcliffe shrugs off toilet break] BBC, accessed 07/11/07] Basically I needed to go. I started feeling it between 15 and convert|16|mi|km and probably carried on too long before stopping. I must have eaten too much beforehand". In November 2006, the incident was voted "top running moment in history" in the UK from a choice of ten 'unforgettable moments' [,,30000-1239319,00.html] .

Helsinki World Championships

On 14 August, 2005 at the World Championships held in Helsinki, Finland she won Britain's only gold medal when she took the marathon title, dominating the race and setting a championship record time of 2:20:57. Catherine Ndereba of Kenya finished in second place, more than a minute behind. Radcliffe said: "It pretty much went according to plan. If somebody had been with me at the end I think I could have pushed it up a bit more." She and three other British runners were also awarded third place Bronze in the team competition. [ [ Marathon Glory for Radcliffe] Sporting Life, accessed 08/11/07]

an Silvestre Vallecana 10 km

New Years Eve 2005 Radcliffe won the San Silvestre Vallecana, a 10 km race in the borough of Vallecas, Madrid, Spain. She said: "I'm okay and it is a great way to end 2005 - with a win." [Radcliffe eases to Madrid victory BBC, accessed 07/11/07]


Radcliffe took a break through the 2006 season owing to injuries and in July announced that she was expecting her first child. Her comeback was further delayed in 2007 as a result of a stress fracture in her lower back. [ [ Radcliffe may miss World Championships] Times, accessed 08/11/07]

Radcliffe chose not to defend her world marathon crown in 2007, in order to undertake further rehabilitation, but insisted she wanted to compete in the next two Olympic Games.


Bupa Great North Run

She made her return to competitive running on 30 September 2007, Radcliffe took part in the BUPA Great North Run in the UK on Tyneside. This was her first race in almost two years. She succeeded in gaining second place beaten by the US runner Kara Goucher over the half-marathon distance. [ [ Great North Run 2007] BBC Tyne, accessed 08/11/07]

New York City Marathon

She made her marathon return at the New York City Marathon on the 4 November 2007 which she won with an official time of 2:23:09. [ [ Radfcliffe wins New York City marathon] The Times, accessed 06/11/07] She has stated that a start at the World Cross Country Championships at Edinburgh is a possibility. [ []]


London Marathon

She withdrew from the London Marathon [ [ Races: Paula Radcliffe withdraws from 2008 London Marathon « Running Advice and News ] ] due to a foot injury.

Olympic Games in Beijing

A little while after the London Marathon it was also revealed that Radcliffe was suffering from an injury to her hip, preventing her from running. Originally thought to be a muscular problem, scans later revealed it was a stress fracture to her femur. In May Radcliffe broke her left leg. She faced a race against time to be fit for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Radcliffe managed to get to fitness level for the 2008 Summer Olympics but the race had her in pain with a cramp to the point where she had to stop running and stretch. However, she resumed the race and finished in 23rd place overall.

Great South Run

Paula will run in the 2008 Great South Run, located in Portsmouth on Sunday 26th October. [cite news
title=Radcliffe to make Great South bow
publisher=BBC News website

Other achievements and awards

*Awarded the BBC London Sports Awards 2003 for 'Sporting Moment of the Year'. [ [ In Pictures: BBC London Sports Awards 2003] BBC, accessed 08/11/07]
*Radcliffe has set numerous records, official and unofficial, on the track and the roads. As of October 2007, she holds the official world record for 10 km on roads. She has twice won the World Half-Marathon championships, twice the World Cross-Country championships (in 2001 and 2002), and in December 2003 became [ European Cross-Country] champion for the second time, the only woman to have achieved this feat in the event's ten-year history.
*Forced out of the Paris World Athletics Championships because of injury in 2003, her greatest moment on the track has been European gold at 10,000 m in 2002. Hindered by back-markers, and in the rain, she nevertheless ran a time of 30:01.09 (a European record by 12 seconds, and second only to Wang Junxia's controversial world record time of 29:31.78 set in Beijing [] ). The same year she won Commonwealth Games gold in the 5000 m, missing the world record by three seconds.
* In 2004 Radcliffe joined with Jonathan Edwards on an "Olympic Special Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?". The pair raised £64,000 for charity, half of that sum going to the British Olympic Association and a quarter of the sum going to Asthma UK. [ [ Paula Radcliffe an asthmatic herself raises money for Asthma UK in TV competition]]
* Paula was nominated for the sports personality award in 2007.
* She won the Laureus World Comeback of the Year award in early 2008 for her performances in 2007. [ [ 2008 Laureus World Sports Awards Winners | Laureus]]

Anti doping

Radcliffe's athletic ability and commitment to training are accompanied by a strong belief in playing by the rules. She has frequently made high-profile condemnations of performance-enhancing drugs in athletics, most famously at the World Athletics Championships in Edmonton in 2001 when Radcliffe and team-mate Hayley Tullett held up a sign protesting against the reinstatement of Russian athlete Olga Yegorova, after Yegorova had tested positive for the banned substance EPO. Radcliffe also wears a red ribbon when competing to show her support for blood testing as a method of catching drugs cheats.

Personal life

Radcliffe married her coach, Irish former international 1500 m runner Gary Lough. [ [ Radcliffe to rule at Stormont] BBC, accessed 06/11/07] in April 2000 in Bedford. At age 33, she gave birth to her first child. Daughter, Isla, born on January 17, 2007 at 9:43 a.m. at the Princess Grace Hospital, in Monaco after a 27-hour labour. [ [ EXCLUSIVE: Paula Radcliffe introduces baby Isla] London Olympics 2012, accessed 06/11/07]


Personal bests

ee also

* Long-distance track event



* "Paula: My Story So Far" (Paula Radcliffe with David Walsh) ISBN 0-7432-5242-X [ [ Paula Radcliffe - Her Story So Far] BBC, accessed 06/11/07]

External links

* [ Paula Radcliffe Official Website]
* [ SPIKES Hero profile on]
* [ Paula Radcliffe training video 1]
* [ Paula Radcliffe training video 2]
* [ Paula Radcliffe 'bionic' kit, (August 14, 2005)]
* [,,17909-1570734,00.html Paula Radcliffe: One Track Mind, (April 16, 2005)]
* [,,2094-1337035,00.html Paula Radcliffe: Long Road Back, (October 31, 2004)]
* [ Paula Radcliffe: Failing to finish at the 2004 Olympic Games, (August 22, 2004)]
* [ Paula Radcliffe: Journey from Disappointing Fourth to Dominant First, (June, 2004)]
* [ Paula Radcliffe: Escorting Paula, (April, 2003)]
* [,10082,539367,00.html Paula Radcliffe: A Guardian interview about drug use in sport, (August 20, 2001)]
* [,28804,1819129_1819134_1825753,00.html "Paula Radcliffe"] , n°31 on "Time"’s list of "100 Olympic Athletes To Watch"

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