Radcliffe in race against time

Paula Radcliffe is progressing well in what she admits is "a race against time" to be fit for the Olympic marathon after returning to her French base following a routine fitness appointment in London this morning.

The marathon world record holder flew home to Font Romeu in the French Pyrenees after attending the British Olympic Medical Institute at Northwick Park, where she had a check to monitor her recovery from a stress fracture of the femur.

Radcliffe who flew out of Stansted airport this afternoon, said: "I'm going back to continue my training - but yes, it is going to be a race against time."

The aim of her latest test in a monitoring process which has been taking place on a regular basis since she picked up the injury, was to determine whether the high-intensity training she has been undergoing has adversely affected her recovery.

But it is understood she is progressing well.

Now 34-year-old Radcliffe, as announced last week, will pursue her bid to attain maximum fitness to enable her to compete in what will be a fourth successive Olympic appearance.

Radcliffe knows she has just 34 days to the start of the marathon but is prepared to delay her decision as long as possible to take part and challenge for the title.

Scotland's Hayley Haining the official reserve is continuing to train for Beijing in case she is required as a replacement.