Athletics: Radcliffe's marathon dilemma

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Paula Radcliffe has yet to commit herself to running next year's London Marathon despite yesterday's announcement by organisers that radical alterations to the route could make the course up to a minute faster for elite athletes.

Paula Radcliffe has yet to commit herself to running next year's London Marathon despite yesterday's announcement by organisers that radical alterations to the route could make the course up to a minute faster for elite athletes.

The section of cobblestones near the Tower of London, which has been a feature of the race since it began in 1981 will no longer be a part of the course. The distance will be made up on the route around the Isle of Dogs.

Radcliffe, who set the world record of 2hr 15min 25sec in London last year, has a choice of returning to the capital next spring or completing the unofficial 'grand slam' of marathons, having won London, Chicago and New York, by contesting the Boston race.

She expects to make her decision in the next few weeks while holidaying in Mexico.

"It's a dilemma," she said yesterday. "It's a case of doing what my heart wants."

Radcliffe heard the news of the revised London course - a move that was prompted by the fact that all three leading male runners slipped on the wet cobblestones during this year's race - with interest.

But she revealed that she hadn't actually run on the cobbles en route for victories in the 2002 and 2003 races. "The cobblestones are a feature of the race, although they are very hard on the legs, and I have run on the smooth bits at the side," she said. "But as long as the Beefeaters are still there..."

Before Radcliffe has her break, she will take part in tomorrow's Nike Run London race, billed as the UK's first mass-participation night run.

A field of 30,000 will set out on the 10km course from Surrey Quays to Southwark Park, and Radcliffe, rather than racing, will pace a group of runners in a time of around 45 minutes.

Comments