Athletics: Radcliffe records majestic victory

THE 3,000 OR SO spectators who had witnessed the first public sporting event to be staged within the grounds of Balmoral Castle were making their way home through swirling snow.

Inside a marquee, Paula Radcliffe, whose world best for five miles had brought the inaugural Compaq Road Races to an unexpectedly resounding climax, was awaiting a lift back to her hotel. Alec Stanton, her coach since she was an eleven year old, was shaking his head in wonder.

"She's never been so fit in all her life," he said of the young woman who has established herself as Britain's pre-eminent female runner and a major figure on the world scene.

Last month Channel 4's athletics magazine programme caught Radcliffe and her coach arguing about training. Radcliffe wanted to do more work, but Stanton insisted that she stop. "We had reached all our targets," he said. "Comparing her sessions with the previous year's programme, she was four days ahead of herself. She was ready."

Since that rare difference of opinion, the 24-year-old from Bedford has added a second world cross-country silver medal to her collection and taken up the place in British middle distance running that had previously been the domain of Liz McColgan, whom Grandstand viewers saw trailing in her wake on Saturday.

A week earlier Radcliffe had knocked seven seconds off McColgan's British 10,000m record with a time of 30min 48.58sec in Lisbon. And in taking 15 seconds off the five-mile mark held by Lorna Kiplagat of Kenya, with a time of 24min 54sec, she also dipped under McColgan's British eight- kilometre record with an unofficial timing of 24min 45sec.

"I knew about Kiplagat's time, but when I saw the conditions on the day I wasn't thinking about breaking any records," Radcliffe said.

Her assumption of a clear lead inside the first mile came partly through accident, after she accelerated away from Yvonne Murray when Scotland's former European 3,000m champion clipped her heels. "I wasn't intending to go so early, but I felt really good so I pushed on," she said. "But by the last lap I was sure I was going to blow up."

McColgan, for whom this was a highly satisfactory warm-up for the London Marathon on 26 April, finished a minute clear of her nearest challenger, but she could do nothing about the gap in front as her.

"It was a bit frustrating," McColgan said with a wry smile. "I'm so strong at the moment. I can keep that pace going all day but I can no go any faster."

The men's four km invitation saw Manuel Pancorbo of Spain gain a measure of recompense for last month's elbow-bumping defeat by John Mayock in the European Indoor Championships as he outsprinted his British rival to win in 10min, 59sec.

Plans to make this an annual event could hardly have had more encouragement. The shift in public opinion following last year's death of Diana, Princess of Wales, has undoubtedly helped the process. The idea was also championed by a man who has Prince Charles' ear - as it were - Sir Jimmy Savile, who took part in Saturday's two-km fun run in white-out conditions.

The royal image - and the BBC cameras - also profited from an unscheduled appearance by Princes Harry and William.

They spent half an hour making a snowman on the castle's front lawn - but only after asking permission from Sue Barker, who was established in a nearby BBC commentary position. People's Royals indeed.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot