Paula Radcliffe, the world marathon record holder and a three-time winner of the London Marathon, plans for a return to the London race next April, hoping to “finish my career on my own terms,” as she told the International Business Times.
Radcliffe, who also won the New York City Marathon three times, the Chicago Marathononce, and a gold medal at the IAAF World Championships in 2005, set a world record of 2:17:18 in Chicago in 2002 and lowered that standard to 2:15:25 in 2003. That latter record still stands. She will be 41 years old when the London Marathon rolls around next year.
Her last significant marathon finish was a third place (2:23:46) in Berlin in 2011. She had to withdraw from her home country’s 2012 London Olympics and had extensive surgery on her left foot.
Radcliffe, a mother of two whose career also included two world cross country championships, said, "it's a definite possibility that I'll be able to run the marathon [in London] so at the minute I am working out how fast I will be able to run and how efficiently I will be able to do it." She added, "obviously I won't be able to run it in the 2 hours 15 minutes again but I want to try and be competitive in it and run well. I guess in a way it's me being greedy as I just want to finish my career on my own terms.”
Alluding to her injury history, Radcliffe said: “For a long time there was a period where I didn't even know if I was ever going to run again which was really hard. So to get back to the stage where I was able to just get up in the morning and go out for a run freely, that was something really special and I was just grateful to have that opportunity.”
She further explained, “it's only just now where it has got to the point where I can stick to a training regime so from there the idea of running one last race got to the point where I could think, 'Yes, I can do that and my foot will be able to handle that.’”