Paula Radcliffe at the 2008 New York City Marathon
17 December 1973 |
Davenham, Cheshire, England
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Weight||54 kg (120 lb; 8.5 st)|
|Club||Bedford & County Athletic Club|
|Achievements and titles|
|World finals||1993, 3000 m, 7th
1997, 5000 m, 4th
1999, 10,000 m, Silver
2001, 10,000 m, 4th
2005, 10,000 m, 9th
2005, Marathon, Gold
|Olympic finals||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 an English long-distance runner. She is the current women's world record holder in the marathon with her time of 2:15:25 hours. She is a three-time winner of the London Marathon (2002, 2003, 2005), three-time New York Marathon champion (2004, 2007, 2008), and won the 2002 Chicago Marathon.
Radcliffe is a former world champion in the marathon, half marathon and cross country. She has also been European champion over 10,000 metres and in cross country. On the track, Radcliffe won the 10,000 metres silver medal at the 1999 World Championships and was the 2002 Commonwealth champion at 5000 metres. She has represented Great Britain at the Olympics four times consecutively (1996 to 2008), but has not won a medal on the Olympic stage.
Radcliffe is an asthma sufferer who has campaigned against the use of drugs in sport. She is married to her coach, Gary Lough, and has two children.
Her running has earned her a number of accolades including the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Laureus World Comeback of the Year, IAAF World Athlete of the Year, AIMS World Athlete of the Year (three times) and a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). She has also been nominated for World Sportswoman of the year on several occasions. In 2010, she was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame.
Early life 
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. 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.
When Radcliffe was aged 12, the family moved to Oakley, Bedfordshire and she became a member of Bedford & County Athletics Club. Her joining the club coincided with a talented and dedicated coach, Alex Stanton, building the women's and girls' sections into one of the strongest in the country, in spite of Bedford's relatively small size.
Radcliffe's father became club vice-chairman and her mother, a fun-runner, managed the women's cross-country team. Her first race at a national level came as a 12 year old in 1986 when she placed 299th out of around 600 in the girls' race of the English Schools Cross Country Championships. She finished fourth in the same race one year later.
Radcliffe attended Sharnbrook Upper School and Community College. She went on to study French, German and economics at Loughborough University, gaining a first-class honours degree in modern European studies.
Running career 
Early career 
Radcliffe's 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 5,000 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 finished out of the medals at the 2000 Olympic Games and 2001 World Championships.
She won back-to-back titles in the 2000 and 2001 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, 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."
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). 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.
She was awarded an MBE in June 2002. 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."
Later the same year, she 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.
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. The performance is one of the highest of score's values in terms of the IAAF World ranking points.
Radcliffe is also 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.
Of the seven marathons Radcliffe has run so far, she has won six and set a record in five. She has run four out of the five fastest times in history in the women's marathon.
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. She ended up withdrawing from the race 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. 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."
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. Television pictures showed Radcliffe in a clearly distressed state after dropping out of the marathon, being comforted by two friends from her early running days.
2005: Marathon World Champion 
At the 2005 London Marathon, Radcliffe 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 is remembered for a notorious moment towards the end when Radcliffe, hindered by runner's diarrhoea 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. 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. 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'.
On 14 August 2005 at the World Championships held in Helsinki 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 in the team competition.
Family and autobiography 
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 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 Olympics. She made her return to competitive running on 30 September 2007, taking part in the BUPA Great North Run in the UK on Tyneside. This was her first race in almost two years. Radcliffe finished second behind US runner Kara Goucher.
Radcliffe released an autobiography in 2004, Paula: My Story So Far.
2008–09: Beijing Olympics and fitness problems 
Radcliffe withdrew from the 2008 London Marathon due to a foot injury. Shortly 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.
Radcliffe managed to get to fitness level for the 2008 Summer Olympics, but cramped during the marathon to the point where she had to stop running and stretch. She resumed the race and finished in 23rd place overall.
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.
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. 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.
Radcliffe went on to win the New York City Half Marathon in 1:09:45, two 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. She returned to action at the 2009 New York City Marathon but failed to notch her third consecutive victory, instead fading to fourth place with knee problems.
Following an 19-month layoff that included the birth of her second child, she returned to action at the Bupa London 10 km, where she finished 3rd, 55 seconds behind the winner, Jo Pavey. Radcliffe called the performance "a bit of a disaster", and indicated she was suffering from a tear in a one of the discs of her back.
She set the 2011 Berlin Marathon as her comeback venue to try for an Olympic qualifying time. She came third in the race with a time of 2:23:46 hours – getting the Olympic standard and the fourth fastest time by a European that year. She was dissatisfied, however, saying: "I'm not particularly happy, either with my time or my place. I came here wanting to win". She used the 2012 Vienna Half Marathon to gauge her fitness and the race was set up as a battle between her and Haile Gebrselassie, with Radcliffe received a head start of 7:52 minutes (the difference between the two athletes' personal bests). She did not perform well and was comfortably beaten by the Ethiopian, while she crossed the line after 72:03 minutes.
Radcliffe pulled out of London 2012 Olympics because of a foot injury.
Other achievements and awards 
- Awarded the BBC London Sports Awards 2003 for 'Sporting Moment of the Year'.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- Nominated for the Sports Personality Award in 2007.
- Won the Laureus World Comeback of the Year award in early 2008 for her performances in 2007.
Anti doping 
Radcliffe has frequently made high-profile condemnations of the use of performance-enhancing drugs in athletics. Radcliffe and team-mate Hayley Tullett cause controversy when in the heats of the 5,000 metres at the 2001 the World Athletics Championships in Edmonton; when they held up a sign protesting against the reinstatement of Russian athlete Olga Yegorova after Yegorova had tested positive for the banned substance EPO. The sign was made by Radcliffe's husband and read 'EPO Cheats Out.' It was eventually taken off them by the stadium officials, but not before it was streamed around the world. After Radcliffe and Tullett's initial protest, team mates Kathy Butler and Hayley Yelling - who both missed out on a place in the final - protested alongside coaches Mark Rowland and Alan Storey, wearing Radcliffe masks and holding up banners with mocking slogans including one which read 'Free Paula.' Radcliffe vowed to continue her fight against drugs in sport after her high profile actions in Edmonton. Since the 1999 European Cup, Radcliffe wears a red ribbon when competing to show her support for blood testing as a method of catching drugs cheats.
Radcliffe has advocated a system where first time offenders are banned for four years and any future offense for life. However she felt that in cases like that of Christine Ohuruogu, who missed three out of competition drugs tests, that she should be allowed to compete in the Olympics, as the BOA does not allow anyone who has served a doping ban to compete. However when Ohuruogu admitted to not trying to reach the tests Radcliffe expressed her disappointment and hoped that it was a lesson learned. When Marion Jones admitted to steroid use, Radcliffe stated that it was good for the sport that she was caught and that they had to keep testing and that people being caught is a big deterrent to would be cheats.
The rapid improvements and fast times in Radcliffe's career have also brought suspicion of doping in her case. Reflecting upon the scepticism created by incidents of doping, she said "You have to accept the situation...it would be great if we could win the battle against doping and have testing that was 100 per-cent reliable, but I don't think that will happen in my competitive career." She has previously asked for the results of her blood tests to be made public, saying that she had "absolutely no objection to my test being released".
Personal life 
Paula Radcliffe was born to Peter and Pat Radcliffe and is the niece of 1920 Olympic Silver medalist Charlotte Radcliffe. Radcliffe met her husband Gary Lough, a former Northern Irish 1,500 m runner, when he was her lodger at Loughborough University. The pair married in 2001. At age 33, she gave birth to her first child, daughter Isla, after a 27-hour labour in 2007. Her second child, a son, Raphael, was born on 29 September 2010.
Championships record 
Road races 
|2000||World Half Marathon Championships||Veracruz, Mexico||1st||Half Marathon|
|2001||World Half Marathon Championships||Bristol, United Kingdom||1st||Half Marathon|
|2002||London Marathon||London, United Kingdom||1st||Marathon|
|Chicago Marathon||Chicago, United States||1st||Marathon|
|2003||London Marathon||London, United Kingdom||1st||Marathon|
|Great North Run||Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom||1st||Half marathon|
|World Half Marathon Championships||Vilamoura, Spain||1st||Half Marathon|
|2004||New York City Marathon||New York, United States||1st||Marathon|
|2005||London Marathon||London, United Kingdom||1st||Marathon|
|2007||Great North Run||Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom||2nd||Half marathon|
|New York City Marathon||New York, United States||1st||Marathon|
|2008||New York City Marathon||New York, United States||1st||Marathon|
|2009||New York City Half Marathon||New York, United States||1st||Half marathon|
|New York City Marathon||New York, United States||4th||Marathon|
|2011||Berlin Marathon||Berlin, Germany||3rd||Marathon|
Personal bests 
|1500 m||4:05.37||1 July 2001||Glasgow, Scotland|
|1 Mile||4:24.94||14 August 1996||Zürich, Switzerland|
|2000 m||5:37.01+||29 August 1993||Sheffield, England|
|3000 m||8:22.20||19 July 2002||Monaco||British record|
|2 Miles||9:17.4||23 May 1999||Loughborough, England|
|5000 m||14:29.11||20 June 2004||Bydgoszcz, Poland||British record|
|10 000 m||30:01.09||6 August 2002||Munich, Germany||Sixth best ever|
|Road||5 km||14:57+||2 September 2001||London, England|
|8 km||24:05+||World best
|10 km||30:21||23 February 2003||San Juan, Puerto Rico||World record|
|15 km||46:41+||7 October 2001||Bristol, England||British record
|10 Miles||50:01+||13 October 2002||Chicago, USA||World best
|20 km||1:02.21+||21 September 2003||Newcastle-South Shields,
|Half marathon||1:05:40||21 September 2003||Newcastle-South Shields,
|25 km||1:20.36+||13 April 2003||London, England|
|30 km||1:36:36+||13 April 2003||London, England||World best
|20 Miles||1:43:33+||13 April 2003||London, England||World best
|Marathon||2:15:25||13 April 2003||London, England||World record|
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- Paula's winning streak takes time... BBC, accessed 08/11/07
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- Radcliffe retains X-country title in Dublin UK Sport, Rob Burgess 25/03/2002
- Debut win for Radcliffe BBC, accessed 06/11/07
- Debut win for Radcliffe BBC, 14 April 2002
- Radcliffe sets marathon record BBC, accessed 06/11/07
- "Another medal for Radcliffe". BBC. Retrieved 6 November 2007.
- Paula Radcliffe is BBC Sports Personality of 2002 BBC, accessed 06/11/07
- Paula Radcliffe breaks 10K world record BBC Newsround, 24 February 2003
- Radcliffe enjoys winning comeback BBC, accessed 08/11/07
- Marathon Agony for Radcliffe BBC, accessed 08/11/07
- Radcliffe baffled by failure BBC, accessed 08/11/07
- World-record holder fails to finish again
- Fans share Paula's pain BBC, accessed 08/11/07
- Innes, John (18 April 2005). "Relief all round after Paula pauses on road to glory". Edinburgh: The Scotsman.
- Radcliffe shrugs off toilet break BBC, accessed 07/11/07
- "Picture Gallery - On The Run" Sky News
- Marathon Glory for Radcliffe Sporting Life, accessed 08/11/07
- Radcliffe may miss World Championships Times, accessed 08/11/07
- Great North Run 2007 BBC Tyne, accessed 08/11/07
- Radfcliffe wins New York City marathon The Times, accessed 06/11/07
- Paula Radcliffe - Her Story So Far BBC, accessed 06/11/07
- Races: Paula Radcliffe withdraws from 2008 London Marathon « Running Advice and News
- Longman, Jeré (2 November 2008). "Radcliffe Reasserts Her Supremacy". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- Hart, Simon (2009-04-10). Race against time for Paula Radcliffe. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 2009-08-13.
- 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.
- Radcliffe to miss half marathon . BBC Sport (2009-10-05). Retrieved on 2009-10-05.
- "Radcliffe falls short in New York". BBC Sport. 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- "Paula Radcliffe says comeback in Bupa London 10,000 was 'a disaster'". The Guardian. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "Paula Radcliffe return in London 10,000 was a 'disaster'". BBC. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- Marathon 2011. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-04-21.
- Butcher, Pat (2011-09-25). Makau stuns with 2:03:38 Marathon World record in Berlin! - UPDATED. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-04-21.
- Wenig, Jorg (2012-04-15). Sugut runs 2:06:58 while Tola defends; Haile beats Paula in chase in Vienna. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-04-21.
- "Paula Radcliffe out of Olympics marathon with injury". Retrieved 2012-07-29.
- In Pictures: BBC London Sports Awards 2003 BBC, accessed 08/11/07
- "IAAF all-time top list for 10 kilometres". IAAF.
- Paula Radcliffe an asthmatic herself raises money for Asthma UK in TV competition medicalnewstoday.com
- 2008 Laureus World Sports Awards Winners | Laureus laureus.com
- "Radcliffe makes placard protest". BBC News. 9 August 2001.
- "Yegorova booed to 5,000m 'glory'". BBC News. 11 August 2001.
- "Radcliffe vows to continue campaign". BBC News. 13 August 2001.
- "TRACK AND FIELD; Once Again, Suspicion Settles Into the Blocks". The New York Times. 19 August 1999.
- "IAAF chief blasts 'fraud' Jones". BBC News. 6 October 2007.
- "Radcliffe keen for doping changes". BBC News. 2 October 2006.
- "Radcliffe concern over Ohuruogu". BBC News. 5 December 2007.
- Rowbottom, Mike (2002-08-08). Athletics: Hard work not drugs the secret of Radcliffe's success. The Independent. Retrieved on 2011-10-10.
- Knight, Tom (26 August 2004). "Radcliffe on standby for late 10,000m attempt". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "Paula Radcliffe - Team GB - London 2012 Olympics". The Daily Telegraph. 26 August 2011.
- Green, Nick (6 May 2007). "Mother superior". The Guardian (London).
- MacKay, Duncan (16 April 2002). "Radcliffe may need operation on knee". The Guardian (London).
- "EXCLUSIVE: Paula Radcliffe introduces baby Isla". Daily Mail (London). 5 May 2007.
- "Delighted Paula Radcliffe gives birth to a 'gorgeous little boy'". Daily Mail (London). 30 September 2010.
- Paula: My Story So Far (Paula Radcliffe with David Walsh) ISBN 0-7432-5242-X
Further reading 
- Paula Radcliffe 'bionic' kit, (14 August 2005)
- Paula Radcliffe: One Track Mind, (16 April 2005)
- Paula Radcliffe: Long Road Back, (31 October 2004)
- Paula Radcliffe: Failing to finish at the 2004 Olympic Games, (22 August 2004)
- Paula Radcliffe: Journey from Disappointing Fourth to Dominant First, (June, 2004)
- Paula Radcliffe: Escorting Paula, (April, 2003)
- Paula Radcliffe: A Guardian interview about drug use in sport, (20 August 2001)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Paula Radcliffe|
- Paula Radcliffe Official Website
- IAAF profile for Paula Radcliffe
- Power of 10 profile for Paula Radcliffe
- SPIKES Hero profile on www.spikesmag.com
- "Paula Radcliffe", n°31 on Time’s list of "100 Olympic Athletes To Watch"
- Paula Radcliffe on Twitter
|Women's Marathon World Record Holder
13 October 2002 –
|Awards and achievements|
|BBC Sports Personality of the Year
|Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year
|Women's 5,000 m Best Year Performance
|Women's Fastest Marathon Race
2002 – 2003