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.

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: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent