Athletics: Radcliffe resumes road to Athens with 10km success

Paula Radcliffe made a convincing return to action yesterday as she won the Nike London 10km road race in 30min 50sec, a time only she has bettered this year.

Five months after her last competitive appearance, when she set her world-best performance at the Flora London Marathon, the 29-year-old Bedford athlete produced a display that drew a firm line under the frustrating period of illness and injury which prevented her from going to the recent World Championships.

Radcliffe's time was short of the world best of 30.21 she set in Puerto Rico seven months ago, but that was on the flat. Her best point of comparison was the British record of 30.38 she ran on the same hilly course last year, although this time round, on a deceptively warm day, that course had been considerably altered.

"I enjoyed it, although the uphill stretch from five to seven kilometres did some damage,'' Radcliffe said. "But the important thing was to show myself as much as anyone else that there's nothing wrong with me.''

Radcliffe must now address what that will mean for her racing programme as she looks ahead to Olympic year.

She confirmed yesterday that she would probably ask to be selected for both the 10,000m and the marathon in Athens in order to leave herself maximum time before choosing. But she is clearly inclining towards running the Olympic marathon, which she believes will be her "strongest shot'' at a medal she has coveted ever since she began racing as a 12-year-old.

After competing in next Sunday's Flora Light Challenge 5km in Hyde Park, the European 10,000m champion is likely to have her next outing either at the following week's Great North Run or the World Half Marathon Championships a week after that.

Although she has not ruled out running another marathon before the Olympics, she confirmed she would not be defending her London title in April because of the event's proximity to the Athens Games.

Radcliffe revealed that the shin injury which initially undermined her preparations this season had been a result of the training run collision she had had with a girl cyclist five weeks before competing in the London Marathon. The freak accident jarred her hip, and although she was still able to win a second London title, complications causing a swelling in her shins kept her out of action for almost five weeks, at which point she suffered an attack of bronchitis.

Radcliffe has no doubt she made the right decision in pulling out of the World Championships, especially as she only managed her first track session two days after the 10,000m final. But she admitted to feelings of guilt as she watched television coverage of her colleagues enduring a difficult and often unproductive period of competition.

"It's not logical, but I think when you're down you don't think logically,'' Radcliffe said. "There's been a lot of emotional pressure on me. It has been really hard, but I have to let Paris go now.''

After yesterday's first confident step back, Radcliffe is ready to march on towards Athens. Only the route remains to be determined.

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'