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.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week