I wish I had more time, says Radcliffe
Tuesday 12 August 2008
Paula Radcliffe wishes she had more time to recover from the thigh injury she suffered in May but has decided to "give it a go" in Sunday's Beijing Olympics marathon.
The 34-year-old world record holder admits she would not have pushed herself as hard for any other race and that there have been times when she feared she would not make the startline.
"Of course, I could do with a bit more time, but (I'll) just go in and give it a go," Radcliffe told BBC Sport.
"That's a hundred times better than watching on TV.
"If it was a big city marathon or even a World Championships (I'd say) do not push it, make sure I was well prepared. But I do not want to sit there watching it wondering what could have happened."
Radcliffe, who dropped out of the 2004 marathon in Athens with dehydration, was diagnosed with a stress fracture to her left femur in May.
That appeared to have ended her Beijing hopes but Radcliffe was determined not to give up on her Olympics dream and insists she is better equipped to succeed at the weekend than she was in Athens.
"I'd rather go in like this than the shape I was in back in 2004 when I was not well," she stressed.
"There were times in the last 12 weeks when I thought 'How can this be happening, has someone put a jinx on me?' But then I'd go to bed and think 'No this is the Olympics, I'm not going to give up'.
"It gives me a mental lift to have got this far because to be honest if they had told me the bleakest medical diagnosis, which came out in dribs and drabs in the end, I might have said: 'This is not going to happen."'
Radcliffe admits her desperate battle for fitness represents a gamble but it is one she considers worthwhile with an Olympic title up for grabs.
"It was my dream as a little girl," she explained. "You don't dream about World Championships, you dream about the Olympics.
"I have not taken stupid risks with my leg - but at every point I have tested it and pushed it a bit further because you're taking a gamble.
"You have to ask yourself 'Are you prepared for the worst thing that can happen?' And for me the worst thing is not to be able to finish the race, and I have already faced that in Athens.
"There have been points when I really did not think I would make it so I will be the happiest of all the runners on the startline. The key is being in there fighting.
"The only reason I would not able to finish it would be if my leg could not handle it, but I have been encouraged as my leg has been coping with good amounts of running."
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