ATHLETICS: No rest for busy Radcliffe

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The Independent Online
NO SOONER had Paula Radcliffe claimed a world record on Saturday than she began planning for another.

After lowering the five-mile mark to 24min 47sec in the grounds of Balmoral Castle, seven seconds inside the record she had established on the same course a year earlier, the 25-year-old from Bedford set her sights on the world two-miles track record. That is something she intends to lower at the match between Loughborough University and the Amateur Athletic Association on 24 May, which - like her run this weekend - will be covered by the BBC.

"I appreciate the BBC would like something special there," Radcliffe said. "If it is properly organised with pacemakers I will probably give it a try."

The weather at Balmoral was kinder to Radcliffe than it had been the previous year, when it snowed heavily. But she faced strong opposition in the form of Jackline Maranga, Kenya's world cross-country short course champion.

"I knew Jackie would be a threat at the end so the plan was to get rid of her as fast as I could," said Radcliffe, who moved clear at the half- way point and eventually finished more than a minute ahead, lowering the 8km world best to 24:38 in the process.

It was the second record for Radcliffe in the space of a fortnight following her 10,000 metres run in Barakaldo, Spain, when she lowered her own Commonwealth mark to 30min 40.70sec. "Today I was running off the strength of my 10k training. Now I'll have to get myself in shape to run the shorter distance," she said.

"The spectators in some of the more remote parts of the course really helped me by yelling their support," she said of Saturday's race. "As long as I won I wasn't bothered about the world record but I knew in the last mile it was on and in the last 400m a certainty."

Radcliffe, who will now return to her high altitude training base at Font Romeu, ran after having physiotherapy on an ankle injury she had sustained in Oregan while testing new shoes with her sponsor in preparation for next year's Olympics. "The ankle was a little stiff, but it was never going to hinder me," she said.

Kenya's Tegla Loroupe, running just eight days after winning the Rotterdam Marathon in a 1999 world best of 2hr 22min 48sec, was never seriously challenged in yesterday's 10km BUPA Great Caledonian Run, involving 2,500 people on a course around the Balmoral grounds. Loroupe won in 32min 26sec.