Athletics: Radcliffe rules out world cross-country

Paula Radcliffe yesterday announced that she will not seek a third world cross-country title in France later this month because it would interfere too much with her preparations for the London marathon on 17 April.

Paula Radcliffe yesterday announced that she will not seek a third world cross-country title in France later this month because it would interfere too much with her preparations for the London marathon on 17 April.

The 31-year-old world record holder said she had decided against running at the Championships in St Etienne on 19 to 20 March because they fell at a time when she would still need to be doing high-quality training for the London event.

Radcliffe explained that she had been able to combine the two races in 2001 and 2002, when she won both events, because there had been less of a gap between the competitions.

She added that she and her husband and manager, Gary Lough, had recently drawn a line down a piece of paper and weighed things up. "We wrote down the pros and cons, what we needed to fit in over the next five weeks until London, and we realised it was taking too much time. If it hadn't been the world cross, I wouldn't even have considered it, and I was trying to fit it in for the wrong reasons.

"I'm happy now that my focus is on London, and then the World Championships in Helsinki, where I haven't yet decided whether to do the 10,000 metres or the marathon."

She added that she would run a road race in the United States, probably over 10 kilometres, as a final competitive preparation for running in London before completing a couple of training runs in Limerick, where she will consult her physical therapist, Ger Hartmann.

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