Athletics: Radcliffe back up and running

For Paula Radcliffe, it prom-ises to be a marathon day - more so than usual. Two years ago her work was done in 2hr 18min 56sec in the Flora London Marathon. Last year it was over in world- record time, 2hr 15min 25sec.

Today, as the notable absen-tee from the 33,000 field, the leading lady of long-distance running has the form of her Olympic rivals to assess, and the progress of her younger brother, Martin - a marathon debutant at the age of 28 - to follow. Then there is her two-hour Sunday training run to fit in. She will not be standing admiring the opposition when the gun fires to start the Olympic marathon on 22 August.

"I've not decided what to do yet," Radcliffe said, assessing her London race-day options. "I'm just trying to work out when to do my own run - whether to run and then watch the race or watch the race and then do my run." At least, whenever she gets around to her own high-speed spin (120 minutes at something less than six-minute mile pace), the pride of Bedford and County Athletics Club will be treading her path secure in the knowledge that she is firmly back on track for her golden Olympic shot.

At a gathering of British athletics writers in Victoria on Friday, Radcliffe revealed that she had undergone surgery on 24 March to remove a hernia from her groin. She also disclosed that tests had confirmed she was suffering from a viral infection when she last raced, in the World's Best 10km Road Race on 29 February.

It was clear that Radcliffe was not at her best in Puerto Rico - she was beaten by Lornah Kiplagat, her first defeat in an individual event for 17 months - and yet, at the time, her run was seen by some as a shift from invincibility to vulnerability. In retrospect, her performance has assumed a wholly different meaning.

Instead of leaving a psychological scar on a woman who was hitherto blazing an untouchable trail, it has become a source of renewed confidence. Despite the stormy conditions in which the race was run, despite the viral infection, and despite the presence of the hernia that was discovered after her withdrawal from the World Cross Country Championships last month, Radcliffe still managed to clock 30min 45sec, just 24 seconds slower than the world-record time she had set on the same course 12 months previously.

"Psychologically, it is encouraging to think I could still run a time like that," she acknowledged. "It's also encouraging to think that my training was going so well." It is going well now, too - three-and-a-half weeks on from the surgery Radcliffe underwent in a Munich clinic.

"Having the operation when I did was a blessing in disguise," she maintained. "If I hadn't had it done, it would have caused problems further down the line, possibly for Athens. It was responsible for the hamstring injury that made me miss the World Cross Country Championships and it would have grumbled on, because it was causing weaknesses in my hips and legs.

"As it is, I'm back in full training and those areas are strong again. I've only missed a little bit of training and one race. In terms of Athens, that's not a problem when it happens in March and April."

There are still 18 weeks to go before Radcliffe's Olympic destiny will be decided on the road from Marathon to Athens. She plans to resume her racing schedule next month - after getting through her marathon schedule on London Marathon day.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her