Athletics: Radcliffe leaves the competition guessing

British runner keeps options open after powering to World Half Marathon title in the sunshine of Portugal

Paula Radcliffe's steadfast insistence after winning her third IAAF World Half Marathon title here that she did not have any clear plans about where she would race next was scarcely credible.

Radcliffe, after all, is probably the most minutely organised athlete ever to have competed in a British vest. Yet the 29-year-old Bedford runner, who has swept all before her in the course of the last 18 months, remains cagey about her commitments up to and including next summer's Olympics in Athens.

In the aftermath of Radcliffe's unrivalled victory on Saturday - her margin of 1min 27sec over the nearest challenger, Ethiopia's world 10,000 metres champion Berhane Adere, was greater than any other in the event's 11-year history - a desperate reporter turned to her mother, Pat, in search of illumination.

"Don't ask me what her plans are," she replied, "I only gave birth to her." So what might Mrs Radcliffe's model daughter do next? Her preferred Olympic option is to do twice the distance she covered in the noonday heat of Portugal. "It's no secret that the marathon is the event I would love to run in Athens next year," she said.

But it seems increasingly unlikely that she will do another marathon between now and the Olympic Games, despite attempts to persuade her otherwise from the organisers of next week's Chicago Marathon, where she set her first world-best for the event last year, and next month's New York marathon.

Radcliffe may travel out to Chicago, but only in order to fulfil a commitment to her sponsors, Nike. As for New York - one hugely experienced race director estimated after Radcliffe's latest victory that even an offer from the organisers in the region of $500,000 (£310,000) would fail to persuade her to sign up.

What Radcliffe is clear about, however, is that she will run again on the roads before the year is out, specifically mentioning the Ekiden road relay in Chiba, Japan, on 23 November.

In order to keep her options open to run the 10,000m in Athens should her marathon training not go according to schedule, she needs to run a qualifying time, and she may choose to do that either in Australia in December at the Zatopek Classic, or four months later at the annual European 10,000 Metres Challenge.

As so often in the past, Radcliffe's latest performance was witnessed by both her proud parents, Pat and Peter, as well as her paternal grandmother, Olive. It also occasioned much celebration in the cafes and bars of the central marina around which Saturday's course wound, packed as they were with British holidaymakers taking time out from playing golf in order to enjoy an unexpected lunchtime treat.

While Radcliffe delivered a home-from-home victory, the ruthlessness of her approach denied the race any lasting element of excitement. By the time she had begun the second of her six scheduled laps the competition was between her and the clock.

The heat and the twists and turns of the course precluded her from challenging either Elana Meyer's official 1999 world best of 66min 44sec, or the unofficial mark of 65min 40sec she had set herself in winning the Great North Run a fortnight earlier. She did enough, however, to show she could run effectively in the kind of conditions she will face in Athens.

The disappointment of missing the summer's World Championships because of injury still lingers for Radcliffe, but her Indian summer of achievement is helping her to put that behind her. "I have to stop going back to it and concentrate on getting things right for next year," she said. So far, so good.



1 M Lel (Ken) 1hr 49sec; 2 J Fabiano (Tan) 1:00.52; 3 M Sulle (Tan) 1:00.58; 4 J Korir (Ken) 1:01.02; 5 J Yuda (Tan) 1:01.13; 6 Y Songoka (Ken) 1:01.18; 7 Z Tadesse (Eritrea) 1:01.26; 8 J Koech (Ken) 1:01.28; 9 T Tola (Eth) 1:01.35; 10 R Harroufi (Mor) 1:02.46; 11 D Adere (Eth) 1:02:47; 12 A Goumri (Mor) 1:02:59.

Men's team: 1 Tanzania 3hr 3min 1sec (F Joseph 1:00.52, M Hhaway Sulle 1:00.56, J Yuda 1:01.13); 2 Kenya 3:03.09 (M Lel 1:00.49, J Cheruiyot Korir 1:01.02, Y Songoka 1:01.18, J Koech 1:01.28, P Kirui DNS); 3 Ethiopia 3:07.34 (T Tola 1:01.35, D Adere 1:02.47, M Hailu 1:03.12, T Jifar 1:03.23, S Tsige 1:04.19).


1 P Radcliffe (GB) 1:07.35; 2 B Adere (Eth) 1:09.02; 3 B Johnson (Aus) 1:09.26; 4 L Grigoryeva (Rus) 1:09.32; 5 C Tomescu (Rom) 1:10.05; 6 A Zhilyayeva (Rus) 1:10.13; 7 L Biktasheva (Rus) 1:10.31; 8 S Chepkemei (Ken) 1:10.35; 9 M Takanaka (Japan) 1:10.36; 10 A Ivanova (Russia) 1:10.59; 11 H Javornik (Slovakia) 1:11.17; 12 S Mosqueda (US) 1:11.22.

Women's team: 1 Russia 3:30.16 (L Grigoryeva 1:09.32, A Zhilyayeva 1:10.13, L Biktasheva 1:10.31, A Ivanova 1:10.59, G Bogomolova 1:12.12); 2 Japan 3:34.23 (M Takanaka 1:10.36, T Kotorida 1:11.37, R Hagiwara 1:12.10, Y Hara 1:12.21); 3 Romania 3:35.07 (C Tomescu 1:10.05, L Talpos 1:12.02, N Olaru 1:13.00, I Olteanu DNF, M Botezan DNF).

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: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

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
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map