Life is a marathon, not a sprint

As one of Britain’s greatest female athletes, Paula Radcliffe spent years at the peak of perhaps the loneliest of all athletic disciplines. The transition back into ‘normal’ life has thrown up its fair share of challenges too, yet she's happier than ever

Saturday 13 October 2018 11:32 BST
Once a runner, always a runner
Once a runner, always a runner (Shutterstock)

I started running when I was just nine and my last competitive race was when I was a 41-year-old mother of two in April 2015. Without wishing to fall into sporting cliche, it was quite a journey. To be honest, had I not suffered years of pain and frustration from a chronic foot injury, I may have kept on going too. I never once found it a hardship or a sacrifice to live the life of a long-distance athlete.

I loved being in training camps; I enjoyed feeling my body work hard towards my goals and that burn of pushing myself to reach for my dreams, and I really loved the intensity of race day. That was when you got to see just how good you could be and felt every muscle in your body working in harmony. The thrill and adrenaline of racing, and being cheered on the track or the road at some of the greatest sporting events on earth, is something that will remain with me for the rest of my life. Thankfully, of course, the simple act of running and running free is something I can still enjoy on a daily basis.

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