Paula Radcliffe: Wikis


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Paula Radcliffe
Paula Radcliffe 2005.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth 17 December 1973 (1973-12-17) (age 36)
Place of birth Davenham, Cheshire, UK
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 54 kg (120 lb; 8.5 st)
Country  Great Britain, England
Club Bedford & County Athletic Club
Achievements and titles
Worlds 1993, 3000 m, 7th
1997, 5000 m, 4th
1999, 10,000 m, 22 Silver
2001, 10,000 m, 4th
2005, 10,000 m, 9th
2005, Marathon, 11 Gold
Olympics 1996, 5000 m, 5th
2000, 10,000 m, 4th
2004, Marathon, DNF
2004, 10,000 m, DNF
2008, Marathon, 23rd
Highest world ranking 1
Personal best(s) 5000 m: 14:29.11
10,000 m: 30:01.09
Half Marathon: 1:06:47
Marathon: 2:15:25 WR
Updated on 25-08-2007.

Paula Jane Radcliffe, MBE (born 17 December 1973) is a British long-distance runner and currently holds several world records.[1]

Radcliffe's distinctive "nodding" action while running has made her instantly recognisable to viewers worldwide. She is not known for her sprint finish, and instead 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 was awarded an MBE.

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


Early life

Radcliffe was born on 17 December 1973 in Davenham near Northwich, Cheshire, England. Her family then moved to nearby Barnton where she attended Little Leigh Primary School.[2] 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 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.[3]

She attended Sharnbrook Upper School and Community College, where her classmate was professional footballer Dan Hall, and studied French, German and Economics at Loughborough University, gaining a first-class honours degree in modern European studies.[4]

Running career


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.

She was successful in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, however, winning back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001, and winning a third title in 2003.

Cross country champion

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."[5]

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 26:46.[6]

Marathon world record

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)[7] 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.[8]

Later that year, Radcliffe set a world record time of 2:17:18 in the Chicago Marathon on 13 October 2002,[9] breaking the previous record by a minute and a half.

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."[10]

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.[11]

Further world records

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.[12] 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 at the time have equated to between 9.75 s and 9.76 s in the men's 100 m sprint.[13] However now the current world record, held by Usain Bolt, is 9.58 seconds.[14]

Also Radcliffe is the current world record holder for the women's road 10k in a time of 30 minutes and 21 seconds, which she set on 23 February 2003 in the World's Best 10K in San Juan, Puerto Rico.[15]

Radcliffe won the Great North Run in a world-best time. She completed the 13.1-mile (21.1 km) half marathon course from Newcastle to South Shields in 65 minutes and 40 seconds.[16]

She won the 2004 New York City Marathon in a time of 2:23:10[17], even though she was 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.[18]

2004 Athens Olympics

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.[19] 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."[20]

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[21]. Television pictures showed Radcliffe in a clearly distressed state after dropping out of the marathon.[22]

2005: Marathon World Champion

Paula Radcliffe leading the London Marathon in 2005, near to Limehouse in East London.

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[23]. 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.[24] Basically I needed to go. I started feeling it between 15 and 16 miles (26 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' [3].

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.[25]

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."[26]

Family and autobiography

Paula Radcliffe with daughter Isla at the New York City Marathon, 2007

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.[27]

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.

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.[28]

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.[29] She has stated that a start at the World Cross Country Championships at Edinburgh was a possibility,[30] but ultimately she was not fit enough to compete.

Radcliffe released an autobiography in 2007, Paula: My Story So Far.[31]

2008–09: Beijing Olympics and fitness problems

Paula Radcliffe airborne at mile 14, New York City Marathon 2007

She withdrew from the London Marathon due to a foot injury.[32] 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.

Paula came in first place with a time of 51.11, setting a new British record for the 10 mile distance in the 2008 Great South Run, located in Portsmouth on Sunday 26 October.[33]

Radcliffe won the 2008 New York City Marathon, making it her third victory at the competition with a time of 2:23:56. Russian Lyudmila Petrova came in second, and American Kara Goucher took third.[34]

Following the New York Marathon, Radcliffe suffered more injury setbacks: she had to withdraw from the 2009 London Marathon due to a fractured toe. In March that year, she had a bunion removed which doctors believed was the root cause of her other injuries at that time.[35] She did not run competitively for almost 10 months, but made herself available for inclusion in the 2009 British team for the World Championships in Athletics. She announced that the New York City Half Marathon would be a testing ground for her fitness before the competition.[36]

Radcliffe went on to win the New York City Half Marathon in 1 hour 9 minutes 45 seconds, 2 seconds off the course record. However, after this she pulled out of the World Championships as she felt unfit, and she missed the 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham due to a bout of tonsillitis.[37] She returned to action at the 2009 New York City Marathon but failed to notch up her third consecutive victory, instead fading to a disappointing fourth with knee problems.[38]

Other achievements and awards

  • Awarded the BBC London Sports Awards 2003 for 'Sporting Moment of the Year'.[39]
  • Radcliffe has set numerous records, official and unofficial, on the track and the roads. As of November 2009, she holds the official world record for 10 km on roads.[40] 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 (at the time a European record by 12 seconds, beating the previous mark of 30:13.74 by Ingrid Kristiansen, and second in the world only to Wang Junxia's controversial world record time of 29:31.78 set in Beijing [4] ). The same year she won a gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in the 5000 m, setting a Commonwealth Games record but 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.[41]
  • 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.[42]

Anti doping

Radcliffe has frequently made high-profile condemnations of the use 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, Northern Irish former international 1500 m runner Gary Lough.[43] in April 2000 in Bedford. At age 33, she gave birth to her first child. Daughter, Isla, born on 17 January 2007 at 9:43 a.m. at the Princess Grace Hospital, in Monaco after a 27-hour labour.[44]


Year Tournament Venue Result Event
1991 World Junior Cross Country Championships Antwerp, Belgium 15th Junior Cross Country
1992 World Junior Cross Country Championships Boston, USA 1st Junior Cross Country
1992 World Junior Championships Seoul, South Korea 4th 3000 m
1993 World Cross Country Championships Amorebieta, Spain 18th Cross Country
1993 World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 7th 3000 m
1995 World Cross Country Championships Durham, England 18th Cross Country
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 5th 5000 m
1995 IAAF Grand Prix Final Monaco 4th 3000 m
1996 World Cross Country Championships Stellenbosch, South Africa 19th Cross Country
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, USA 5th 5000 m
1996 IAAF Grand Prix Final Milan, Italy 4th 5000 m
1997 World Cross Country Championships Turin, Italy 2nd Cross Country
1997 European Cup Munich, Germany 3rd 3000 m
1997 World Championships Athens, Greece 4th 5000 m
1997 IAAF Grand Prix Final Fukuoka, Japan 3rd 5000 m
1998 World Cross Country Championships Marrakech, Morocco 2nd Cross Country
1998 European Cup St. Petersburg, Russia 1st 5000 m
1998 European Championships Budapest, Hungary 5th 10000 m
1999 World Cross Country Championships Belfast, Northern Ireland 3rd Cross Country
1999 European Cup Paris, France 1st 5000 m
1999 World Championships Seville, Spain 2nd 10000 m
1999 IAAF Grand Prix Final Munich, Germany 4th 3000 m
2000 World Cross Country Championships Vilamoura, Portugal 4th Short Cross Country
2000 World Cross Country Championships Vilamoura, Portugal 5th Long Cross Country
2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 4th 10000 m
2000 World Half Marathon Championships Veracruz, Mexico 1st Half Marathon
2001 World Cross Country Championships Ostend, Belgium 2nd Short Cross Country
2001 World Cross Country Championships Ostend, Belgium 1st Long Cross Country
2001 European Cup Bremen, Germany 2nd 5000 m
2001 World Championships Edmonton, Canada 4th 10000 m
2001 Bristol Half Marathon Bristol, England 1st Half Marathon
2002 World Cross Country Championships Dublin, Republic of Ireland 1st Long Cross Country
2002 London Marathon London, England 1st Marathon
2002 Commonwealth Games Manchester, England 1st 5000 m
2002 European Championships Munich, Germany 1st 10000 m
2002 Chicago Marathon Chicago, USA 1st Marathon
2003 London Marathon London, England 1st Marathon
2003 World Half Marathon Championships Vilamoura, Portugal 1st Half Marathon
2003 Great North Run Tyne and Wear, England 1st Half Marathon
2004 European Cup Bydgoszcz, Poland 1st 5000 m
2004 New York City Marathon New York, USA 1st Marathon
2005 London Marathon London, England 1st Marathon
2005 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 1st Marathon
2007 Great North Run Tyne and Wear, England 2nd Half Marathon
2007 New York City Marathon New York, USA 1st Marathon
2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China 23rd Marathon
2008 New York City Marathon New York, USA 1st Marathon
2009 New York City Half Marathon New York, USA 1st Half Marathon
2009 New York City Marathon New York, USA 4th Marathon

Personal bests

Surface Event Time Date Place Extra
Track 400 m 58.9 1992
800 m 2:05.22 1995
1000 m 2:47.17 1993
1500 m 4:05.37 1 July 2001 Glasgow, Scotland, UK
1 Mile 4:24.94 14 August 1996 Zürich, Switzerland
2000 m 5:37.01+ 29 August 1993 Sheffield, England, UK
3000 m 8:22.20 19 July 2002 Monaco UK Women's record
2 Miles 9:17.4 23 May 1999 Loughborough, England, UK
4000 m 11:35.21+
5000 m 14:29.11 20 June 2004 Bydgoszcz, Poland UK Women's record
10 000 m 30:01.09 6 August 2002 Munich, Germany Sixth best performance ever
Road 5 km 14:57+ 2 September 2001 London, England, UK
4 Miles 19:51+
5 Miles 24:47+
8 km 24:05+ Women's World best (unratifiable)
10 km 30:21 23 February 2003 San Juan, Puerto Rico Women's World record (road)
15 km 46:41+ 7 October 2001 Bristol, England, UK UK Women's record (unratifiable)
10 Miles 50:01+ 13 October 2002 Chicago, USA Women's World best (unratifiable)
20 km 1:02.21+ 21 September 2003 Newcastle - South Shields, England, UK Women's World best (unratifiable)
Half marathon 1:05:40 21 September 2003 Newcastle - South Shields, UK Women's World best (unratifiable)
25 km 1:20.36+ 13 April 2003 London, England, UK Women's World best (unratifiable)
30 km 1:36:36+ 13 April 2003 London, England, UK Women's World best (unratifiable)
20 Miles 1:43:33+ 13 April 2003 London, England, UK Women's World best (unratifiable)
Marathon 2:15:25 13 April 2003 London, England, UK Women's World record

See also


  1. ^ Running machine BBC, accessed 07/11/07
  2. ^ [1] icCheshireOnline, accessed 21/11/07
  3. ^ Radcliffe ready to deliver her own historic message Guardian, accessed 08/11/07
  4. ^ Paula's winning streak takes time... BBC, accessed 08/11/07
  5. ^ Radcliffe takes World Cross-Country title BBC, 24 March 2001
  6. ^ Radcliffe retains X-country title in Dublin UK Sport, Rob Burgess 25/03/2002
  7. ^ Debut win for Radcliffe BBC, accessed 06/11/07
  8. ^ Debut win for Radcliffe BBC, 14 April 2002
  9. ^ Radcliffe sets marathon record BBC, accessed 06/11/07
  10. ^ Another medal for Radcliffe BBC, accessed 06/11/07
  11. ^ Paula Radcliffe is BBC Sports Personality of 2002 BBC, accessed 06/11/07
  12. ^ Radcliffe smashes record BBC, accessed 06/11/07
  13. ^ Hicham El Guerrouj and Paula Radcliffe are 2002 Athletes of the Year accessed 07/11/07
  14. ^ [2] accessed 30/10/08
  15. ^ Paula Radcliffe breaks 10K world record BBC Newsround, 24 February 2003
  16. ^ Radcliffe wins Great North Run BBC, 21 September 2003
  17. ^ Radcliffe enjoys winning comeback BBC, accessed 06/11/07
  18. ^ Radcliffe enjoys winning comeback BBC, accessed 08/11/07
  19. ^ Marathon Agony for Radcliffe BBC, accessed 08/11/07
  20. ^ Radcliffe baffled by failure BBC, accessed 08/11/07
  21. ^ World-record holder fails to finish again
  22. ^ Fans share Paula's pain BBC, accessed 08/11/07
  23. ^ "Relief all round after Paula pauses on road to glory". The Scotsman. 18 April 2005. 
  24. ^ Radcliffe shrugs off toilet break BBC, accessed 07/11/07
  25. ^ Marathon Glory for Radcliffe Sporting Life, accessed 08/11/07
  26. ^ Radcliffe eases to Madrid victory BBC, accessed 07/11/07
  27. ^ Radcliffe may miss World Championships Times, accessed 08/11/07
  28. ^ Great North Run 2007 BBC Tyne, accessed 08/11/07
  29. ^ Radfcliffe wins New York City marathon The Times, accessed 06/11/07
  30. ^ Radcliffe indicates a third World Cross title campaign is an option - Edinburgh 2008. 11 October 2007.
  31. ^ Paula Radcliffe - Her Story So Far BBC, accessed 06/11/07
  32. ^ Races: Paula Radcliffe withdraws from 2008 London Marathon « Running Advice and News
  33. ^ "Radcliffe wins Great South". BBC Sport. 2008-10-26. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  34. ^ "Radcliffe Reasserts Her Supremacy". The New York Times. November 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 
  35. ^ Hart, Simon (2009-04-10). Race against time for Paula Radcliffe. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 2009-08-13.
  36. ^ Chadband, Ian (2009-08-12). World Athletics: Paula Radcliffe to warm up for Berlin with New York Half-Marathon. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 2009-08-13.
  37. ^ Radcliffe to miss half marathon . BBC Sport (2009-10-05). Retrieved on 2009-10-05.
  38. ^ "Radcliffe falls short in New York". BBC Sport. 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  39. ^ In Pictures: BBC London Sports Awards 2003 BBC, accessed 08/11/07
  40. ^ "IAAF all-time top list for 10 kilometres". IAAF. 
  41. ^ Paula Radcliffe an asthmatic herself raises money for Asthma UK in TV competition
  42. ^ 2008 Laureus World Sports Awards Winners | Laureus
  43. ^ Radcliffe to rule at Stormont BBC, accessed 06/11/07
  44. ^ EXCLUSIVE: Paula Radcliffe introduces baby Isla London Olympics 2012, accessed 06/11/07


  • Paula: My Story So Far (Paula Radcliffe with David Walsh) ISBN 0-7432-5242-X

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Kenya Catherine Ndereba
Women's Marathon World Record Holder
13 October 2002 –
Succeeded by
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
England David Beckham
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
England Jonny Wilkinson
Preceded by
United States Stacy Dragila
Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
South Africa Hestrie Cloete
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Russia Olga Yegorova
Women's 5,000 m Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Ethiopia Berhane Adere
Preceded by
Ethiopia Derartu Tulu
Ethiopia Berhane Adere
Women's 10,000 m Best Year Performance
2001 – 2002
Succeeded by
Ethiopia Berhane Adere
Ethiopia Tirunesh Dibaba
Preceded by
Kenya Catherine Ndereba
Japan Yoko Shibui
Women's Fastest Marathon Race
2002 – 2003
Succeeded by
Japan Yoko Shibui
United States Deena Kastor

Simple English

File:Paula Radcliffe
Paula Radcliffe

Paula Jane Radcliffe MBE (born December 17, 1973) is an English athlete with the world record in women's marathon.


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