Paula Radcliffe begins 2004 as the official holder of three more world records following a rethink by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The world governing body has decided officially to recognise road-running and race-walking performances for most distances as world records - and Radcliffe can therefore claim to hold the best 10km, 20km and marathon marks.
The double London marathon winner said: "I'm really pleased that the IAAF have decided to recognise performances achieved on the roads as world records. I think it is a big step forward and it is important for the sport of athletics to have records and not just track and field. People can relate to a 10km road race or a marathon, so it is important to get rid of the confusion over world records and world bests."
Elvan Abeylegesse, the European Cross Country Championship silver medallist, is the latest big name to enter tomorrow's Great North Cross-Country in Newcastle.
Abeylegesse was eventually beaten into second place by Radcliffe in Edinburgh last month, having put up a praiseworthy performance against the world's No 1 distance runner.
Now the Ethiopian-born Turk is to race against world-class opposition in the UK's most prestigious cross-country event in Newcastle's Exhibition Park. With the holiday season drawing to a close, the race director, Peter Elliott, is hoping all the top Britons who have entered the women's race will arrive fit and healthy.
In Sao Paulo, Brazil's Marilson Gomes dos Santos won the 15km Sao Silvestre road race to break Kenya's dominance in the traditional New Year's Eve event.
He left the New York marathon champion, Martin Lel, and the Boston marathon champion, Robert Cheruiyot, both of Kenya, in his wake as he won in 43min 48sec.
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