Radcliffe's world bid

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The Independent Online

Paula Radcliffe insists that winning a major championship gold medal is what has brought her to this Gulf of Mexico holiday resort.

Paula Radcliffe insists that winning a major championship gold medal is what has brought her to this Gulf of Mexico holiday resort.

Tomorrow Radcliffe, who led for most of the Olympic Games 10,000 metres but missed out on a medal when out-kicked on the last lap by faster finishers, bids for the world half-marathon title. It may only be her third race over the 13.1 mile distance, but Radcliffe has already shown high promise in the event.

On her debut in the 1999 Bupa Great North Run she set an English record, and three weeks ago over the same Tyneside course she broke the European record by four seconds. Coincidentally, the mark she smashed of 67 minutes 11 seconds belonged to Liz McColgan, who was the winner of the world title when the Great North Run staged the first World Championships in 1992. No Briton has since repeated the feat, but Radcliffe has a good chance with the Kenyan Tegla Loroupe missing the race through exhaustion and the opposition, led by the host nation's Adrianna Fernandez, strong but not formidable.

"It would be a nice way to finish the year," said Radcliffe. "Normally by this time of the year I'm worn out, but injuries meant I had a very late start to the season. Initially, I hadn't planned to do the Great North Run, but there I was at the peak of my fitness and it would have been silly not to have a go at it. I ran the Great North with a cold, but obviously I didn't tell anyone in case they thought I was making excuses."

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