Paula Radcliffe to Defend ING NYC Marathon Title
By David Monti
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
NEW YORK (01-Oct) -- World marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe said
today that she would be on the starting line of the ING New York City
Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 2, to defend her title. The two-time New York
champion, who won a thrilling duel with three-time Olympic medalist
Gete Wami at last year's race, said she has bounced back from a stress
fracture of her left femur which put her on crutches for three weeks
and short on preparation for the Beijing Olympic Marathon last August.
In Beijing she bravely limped to a 23rd place finish.
"Hopefully, good shape, and good enough shape to commit to running the
race," Radcliffe told reporters on an international conference call
today when asked about her fitness. She added: "I'm pleased to come
back to New York, defend my title and run well there."
Radcliffe's participation in the race was confirmed by New York Road Runners president and CEO, Mary Wittenberg.
"We just did the deal with Paula yesterday," Wittenberg told reporters
on the teleconference as she waited to board a flight at a New York
Radcliffe, 34, revealed that her body did not sustain any lasting
damage from the Olympic Games, but that she took her time to fully
recover before resuming her normal training. She reported some
inflammation at the base of her spine, but that condition had cleared
up normally with rest. The stress fracture, which she suffered last
May, had fully healed, but her body was noticeably weaker on the left
"I knew I had a lot of strengthening work to do," said Radcliffe, who
lifted weights three times a week and did "core" exercises to assure
the strength and stability of her back and abdomen.
Radcliffe was under tremendous pressure to achieve a medal in Beijing
after dropping out of the Athens Olympic Marathon in 2004. She was
unable to do a full marathon preparation prior to Beijing because of
the injury, and replaced most of her usual running mileage with cross
training in a pool and on a cross country skiing machine before
transitioning to running on a special treadmill which reduced her
effective body weight. She arrived on the starting line adjacent to
Tiananmen Square with good aerobic fitness, but insufficient mileage
and strength in her legs. She limped badly in the final kilometers of
the race which were clearly very painful. Her 2:32:38 finish time was
remarkable given all of her difficulties leading up to the race.
Radcliffe indicated today that she may have one more Olympic Games
remaining in her career, a tantalizing thought given that the 2012
Games are in home country of Great Britain.
"I don't think my Olympic career is over yet," she said, admitting that
she would be past her physical prime. But she pointed to the fact that
2008 Olympic champion Constantina Dita of Romania won the race at 38
years-old (Radcliffe would be the same age at the London Olympics).
She still loves to run.
"I still have a huge enjoyment and desire to go out and run each day,"
she said. "It would be hard to have that (an Olympic medal) missing
from my career."
NOTE: Read a detailed account of Radcliffe's recovery program in the
New York Times by science reporter Gina Kolata here