Olympic Stories

Paula Radcliffe

Paula Radcliffe

Paula Radcliffe is a British female runner, born in December 1973.

Paula’s first successful race was in 1992, when she won the junior title in the World Cross Country Championships when she beat her competitors by quite a way. In the 1993 World Championships when she was just 19, Paula came in 7th place.

The following year was not a great start for Paula however,  when she suffered a foot injury that had been misdiagnosed. When she realised the seriousness of the injury she was unable to run for that entire year. Paula did think about stopping running altogether during that time as she was unconvinced that she would recover. Thankfully though, she did recover and began running again in 1995.

Paula began well, improving her previous feats when she came 5th in the 5,000 metre race of the Gothenburg World Championshipsn. By the end of 1995, her times she had improved on her times so much that she was among the top five female runners in the world at that time.At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta Paula came 5th again. Naturally, she was disappointed by this but she had other achievements that year by obtaining her honours degree.

By 1997 Paula had won her first silver medal in the World Cross Country Championships. 1997 was the year for track improvements also, when she finished 4th at the World Championships over 5000 metres. Early on in the following year, Paula set the fastest debut time in the 10,000 metre race, completing it in 30:48.58. This was the second fastest world time and it was also a record in British running history.

She ran at the European Championships that same year, but only managed 5th place due to a virus.

After recovering from the virus, Paula was on top form when she won the European Cross Country title, which was her first major win. At the 1999 Seville  World Championships wasn't wonderful for Paula. She improved her personal best but missed out on the gold medal by just a few seconds and only took the silver.

Next up was Sydney, Australia where the story was more or less the same other than the fact that that this time not one but three runners pushed ahead in the final stretch, meaning Paul didn’t manage to snatch a medal. Even so, she did still get a new British and Commonwealth record  with a time of 30:26.97.

Paula grabbed herself a European record soon afterwards in a half marathon, before securing a win in the World Half Marathon Championships. She then began working on her sprint,as this appeared to be her downfall at the end of a race.

This extra effort worked and we saw Paula sprinted ahead of Gete Wami in the last stretch at the World Cross Country Championships. She showed consistency the following day when she achieved a silver medal on the shorter course. Paula was more than happy with her performance and knew that her effort and training had paid off.

Paula Radcliffe was not able to compete in the marathon at the London 2012 Olympics because of a foot injury. The 38-year-old, who has never won an Olympic medal in four previous Games, was declared unfit after a test run this weekend.

Career Highlights

  • World Cross Country Championships – Gold (2002,2001,1992)
  • World Championships – Gold (2005), Silver (1999)
  • 2000 Sydney Olympics – Silver

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