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Paula Radcliffe fears persistent foot problem has ended her competitive running career

March 27th, 2013 Sports


Paula Radcliffe fears persistent foot problem has ended her competitive running career


End of the road? Paula Radcliffe has struggled to recover from a foot injury and may have to give up her competitive career Photo: GETTY IMAGES




Next month marks the 10th anniversary of Radcliffe’s marathon world record,
when she completed the 2003 London Marathon in an astonishing time of 2hrs
15min 25sec, though her world-beating days are now a distant memory after
undergoing complex surgery last August to try to re-grow missing cartilage
in her left foot.

Radcliffe had hoped to recover in time to compete at the World Cross Country
Championships, which took place in Poland last Sunday, but a setback in
December means she is still struggling to walk. She has managed just a few
short jogs in the past eight months.

In an interview with the BBC, Radcliffe said she still hoped to end her career
by completing a race but conceded that she may never be able compete as an
elite runner again.

“Targets have gone out of the window,” she said. “I’m very
much in that limbo where I know and accept that realistically it may not be
possible.

“But at the same time I have a little window of hope and I would rather
be able to finish my career in a race.”

Radcliffe says there have been times in recent months when she has feared she
might not even be able to run recreationally, let alone in an elite race.

“I’ve not even been able to run after the kids in the last few months,
and you start to think about the first goal – to get back and be able to
have a normal active life and then worry about if I can get back to
competing,” she said.

“In all honesty with me, it was probably always going to be something
going wrong with my body that would make my career start to wind down
because I am always going to want to keep competing and keep getting out
there.

“I would love to be able to run a couple more marathons before I finish,
even if it’s just another half marathon. At the same time I would still like
to have a healthy foot in 20 years’ time.”

Radcliffe believes her problems date back to a misdiagnosed stress fracture in
1994 and says she has run with pain throughout her career.