British runner Paula Radcliffe today smashed the world record in the 23rd London Marathon by more than three minutes.
The fastest woman in the world romped to victory for the second year running in an official time of two hours, 15 minutes, 25 seconds.
The 29-year old Bedford runner, who was cheered by thousands of adoring fans along the 26-mile route, raised her arms aloft as she crossed the finishing line well ahead of her nearest rival.
Having set a blistering pace from start to finish, the runner was roared on by thousands of jubilant fans as she came into the finishing straight down the Mall.
Last year, she crossed the line in a time of two hours, 18 minutes and 56 seconds - missing the world record by just nine seconds.
Radcliffe said after her win: "We proved, with the crowd's support here, that it's a really fast course. In the first mile, no-one really wanted to go with us so I just relaxed and followed the two pacemakers.
"The third mile was really fast, but the last two miles were really hard. Once I got into the wind at Big Ben, it got a little easier."
She said that the crowd's support had been "amazing".
"Everyone said Docklands is really quiet but it has to be the loudest today. It really helps and pushes you on."
Describing the pressure she was under to break the world record heading into today's race, she added: "I went out way faster that I planned to do but I was just committed and wanted to hold it.
"You know that every marathon you are going to have a bad spell. Here, it was on and off for the last five miles."
Radcliffe told the BBC's Sue Barker: "I feel rough now. I've got three weeks to recover before I even have to think about running so that's the main thing," she said.
Asked how she manages to push on through the pain barrier in every race, Radcliffe said: "I count, it sounds really stupid but I just count up to 100 - three times is a mile so I just pass the miles like that and try and think of only the minute that I'm in."
She said her ambition was now to go to the World Championships in the summer after a well-earned break.
"All the way through that I was just thinking only five miles to go and then you've got three weeks' rest," she said.
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