Paula Radcliffe will use this year's Flora London Marathon as a crucial step in her preparation for the Beijing Olympics. And race director Dave Bedford believes the world-record holder will use different tactics to the front-running style which has earned her three titles in the capital.
Following yesterday's announcement that Radcliffe had committed to this year's race on 13 April, Bedford predicted a novel practice run from the 34-year-old Briton, four months before she seeks a gold medal in the heat and humidity of the Chinese capital.
"I think she will run tactically rather than the way we have all seen her run before," said Bedford, who does not expect Radcliffe to get close to the world record of 2hr 15min 25sec she set in London in 2003.
"I don't believe Paula will try to run away from the field in Beijing. I don't think she can risk that strategy in the conditions she's going to meet there – it's going to be 80 degrees of heat, and 90 degrees of humidity. Therefore, an alternative strategy should be something that she has in mind, although only she can make that decision.
"It's a good stepping stone to the Olympics for her, and it's good for her to have a medium-term goal because it's a shocking length of time to be not running otherwise."
Bedford also believes that Radcliffe's decision means it is unlikely that she will run the World Cross Country Championships which take place in Edinburgh on 30 March, less than a fortnight before London.
Specific security threats to previous British Olympic teams were a significant factor in the decision to base the preparation camp for the London 2012 Games at the Aldershot army base.
The British Olympic Association said that the Aldershot garrison will host between 600 and 700 members of Team GB in the final weeks before the 2012 Games.
One attraction was that the base, which includes the centre of excellence for army sport, is undergoing a refit and, under a private finance initiative, many of the sports will be able to request their own specifications when facilities are updated, such as the surface of the running track.Reuse content