Athletics: Radcliffe blows away cobwebs in Japan relay

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Paula Radcliffe demonstrated her recovery from bronchitis by producing a swift 10-kilometre time of 31min 41sec in Japan yesterday at the Chiba Ekiden Relays. The 31-year-old world marathon champion's performance in recording the second-fastest time of the second leg helped Britain earn seventh place in an event won for the first time by Kenya.

Radcliffe's recent illness had affected her training schedule and forced her to miss the lucrative Seven Hills race in Nijmegen in the Netherlands on Sunday.

Although the Ekiden is a team discipline over a marathon distance of 26.2 miles, Radcliffe had attracted the lion's share of attention. Her arrival was covered on national television on Monday evening as well as on Tuesday morning news programmes.

"I like road relays. I grew up running them in England," she said before the race. "This Ekiden is special because its total distance is the marathon distance and the marathon is very special for me. After taking a break following the World Championships my training was going well, but it has not gone so well following the interruption."

The British men's team were also seventh in an event also won by Kenya.