Thursday, March 6, 2008

11 Paula Radcliffe Bows Out of the London Marathon


Hi All,

Just a quick post today. Today, instead of recording personal happenings, I'd like to briefly comment upon what's been happening in the big wide world of professional running, more specifically with regard to the recent news concerning Paula Radcliffe.

Well, as many of you might already be aware, it looks like an injured Paula Radcliffe won't be running the London Marathon (scheduled for April 13, 2008), which, as the fastest female marathoner (2:15:25), current world record-holder (of 10 world records!), & winner of this race on three previous occasions thus far (in 2002, 2003, & 2005), is truly a shame. (She sustained a "toe tendon injury" while training in Albuquerque, NM, which hasn't healed as fast as the doctors expected.)

Radcliffe, 34, stated: "I am desperately disappointed that I have to pull out of this year's race.... I love running in London and this race would have been the perfect test for me before the Olympic Games.... But in marathon training there are no short cuts and there is simply not enough time to be in the shape I want to be in to run well in London. Now I must concentrate on being as well prepared as possible for Beijing."

It's certainly not the first time she's had to bow out of the London marathon. Back in 2004, Paula opted not to run this race, in order to prepare for the Athens Olympic Games, which ended up being a very trying period of time for the athlete. But, as her history shows, she's normally a very resilient competitor. Later that same year (in November), her victory in the New York marathon was the sweet comeback which helped her get past the earlier setbacks she faced in Athens. Regardless of her current injury, I think that this particular personal triumph of hers has helped to further forge her resolve, & made her an even stronger competitor today. I can't wait to watch her race in this summer's upcoming Olympic events. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that she'll be ready & able to compete!

And even though she described her current injury as "minor," I think it was a smart move for her to withdraw from the London marathon, as she obviously needs to take the time to recover properly from her injury & of course, give herself enough time to train, in order to be in top shape for the Bejing 2008 Olympics (which will be held on August 8-24, 2008). The summer Olympics are roughly 5 five months away. Whoah. Relatively speaking, in terms of training time, the Olympics are coming up pretty soon. So what do you experienced marathoners think? Do you think that'll be enough time for her to recover & train?!

But back to the London marathon. Since Paula won't be competing in this event, let's talk about who will be. The following is a full list of entrants for the elite women’s race and their marathon PRs:

Berhane AdhereETH2:20:42
Constantina Tomescu-DitaROM 2:21:30
Svetlana ZakharovaRUS 2:21:31
Gete WamiETH2:21:34
Benita JohnsonAUS 2:22:36
Selina KosgeiKEN 2:23:22
Irina MikitenkoGER2:24:51
Ait Salem SouadALG2:25:08
Irina PermitinaRUS 2:26:51
Emily KimuriaKEN2:28:10
Silvia SkvortsovaRUS2:27:07
Hayley HainingGBR2:30:43
Liz YellingGBR 2:30:44
Adriana PirteaROM 2:33:52
Everline KimweiKEN Debut
Lisa WeightmanAUS Debut

(Hmmmm, where are the American female runners on this list?! ;-) )

Even without Paula, it should still be a very exciting event to watch. Are any of you planning on attending or watching this marathon?


Blaine Moore said...

All of my attention will be on the women's marathon trials here in the US around that time. There are 4 women from Maine who will be racing.

Joanie, who was the first Olympic Gold Medalist in 1984, will be I think the first woman in her 50s to be able to compete in the trials.

Kristin and Sheri are both teammates of mine, so my minimum goal for my May marathon is either 2:45:37 or else whatever they run at the trials.

Emily stands the best chance of making it to the Olympics of the 4 of them, I think, despite having to train while caring for her daughter, who has Leukemia. (Incidentally, I am interviewing her next week. We're leaving the floor open for questions, if you'd like to ask one.)

cyberpenguin said...

Wow, these women are truly amazing. And you KNOW them. Wow, again.

Thanks for mentioning your interview with Emily. I read the post you wrote about her, & she sounds like a woman of incredible determination & strength. Hopefully, Emily's young daughter has learned/inherited these very same qualities from her mother, since she will surely have an intense few years of treatment ahead of her; that certainly can't be easy for either of them. How is her little girl responding to the leukemia treatments? I hope that she's doing OK.

I'll write up a question & submit it via the link you've listed. Thanks so much for mentioning this!

So, what've you been up to lately in your career & running routine? Of course, I check in on your blog, but haven't seen any recent mentions regarding your training. Hope your running & other workouts are going well!


TexasTesla said...

I am in total awe of all marathon runners - I just don't know how the physical stamina and determination to do it! And for Paula to run the NYC marathon not that long after the birth of her Just wow.

cyberpenguin said...

Yes, the achievements of marathoners certainly are very impressive in many respects -- in terms of their efforts, mental & physical stamina, courage, & time-management skills!

I have a great deal of respect for these athletes, especially for those who devote so much of their time & effort to the sport & still manage to lead a full & balanced life. And that's no easy feat!

Of course it certainly makes a difference in your marathon training if you've got a full team of professional staff whose sole purpose is to help you train & keep your life organized. ;-) Most elite professional athletes, like Paula Radcliffe for example, have this kind of entourage -- both paid & unpaid -- who help them manage every aspect of their professional lives (& sometimes aspects of their personal lives as well!). In fact, Paula herself has a huge team of physicians, dieticians, weights instructors, her couch Alex Stanton, and Gary Lough - her husband and manager. [No doubt Blaine (of can speak to this topic on a much more detailed level & with much greater insight than me, as he himself actually knows several professional athletes & is also a serious competitor himself. ;-) ]

And now think about the fact that most mere mortals (i.e., amateurs/nonprofessionals) among us, who run marathons on a regular basis, DON'T actually have this entire professional entourage behind them to help them train. In some ways, that's even MORE impressive. ;-)

TexasTesla said...

Very true! I know a lady at our in-house gym at work that runs 1 marathon a year, and we're all in awe of her. She works the same long hours as everyone else, has 2 kids in high school - but still manages to train. It's really amazing. Guess I should think of that when I'm griping about my 5k, might make the distance seem a bit less. :-)

cymrusteve said...

Great post and great set of comments. London won't be the same without Paula, but I know she's making the Olympic Games Marathon her top priority this year (and quite right too in my opinion!)

London will still be a great race and I'm sure the US trials will be a really exciting event too.

Lots to look forward too this year...


Abimars said...

I've decided not to watch from the couch this year, so I'll be there cheering them on

cymrusteve said...


Enjoy the marathon - you'll have a fantastic time! I ran it in 1992 and 1996....wonderful race. I need to do it again one day,


Abimars said...

thanks steve and who knows maybe next year........

cyberpenguin said...

Hi Steve & Abi,

Thanks for your comments!

Steve, that must've been some experience running the London marathon. I've noticed that this particular race seems to be a favorite among many marathoners. ;-)

Abi, hope you enjoy watching the marathon. Sounds exciting! It very well might be that your first spark of inspiration to start marathon training could come from attending this race. 8-)


cymrusteve said...

Yes, I was lucky enough to run it twice (once in '92 and once in '96) - fantastic race and tons of fun.

I was more of a fun runner in those days, but would like to go back some time to see how I could perform on the course now I'm more competitive.

One day...


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