Paula Radcliffe bids emotional goodbye to London Marathon - Women's Running

Paula Radcliffe bids emotional goodbye to London Marathon

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  May 7, 2015

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Women’s world record holder Paula Radcliffe bid an emotional farewell to the London Marathon yesterday, on the course that made her a global running idol.

Unlike Paula’s victory performance in 2003, which made her the women’s world record holder, Paula was not running with the elite runners. Instead, running on what Jo Pavey described as “her terms”, Paula chose to run with the club runners, smiling every step of the way as she embraced every moment of her final competitive race.

But for Paula, competition seemed to mean very little, as she crossed the London Marathon finish line yesterday. Instead, Paula focused her attention on thanking as many people as possible and soaking up the moment. Talking to the BBC she said: “I didn’t care about the time the whole way round. I was so tired. I wanted to try and thank as many people as possible.”

That said, Paula’s finishing time was one to be admired. Battling endless injury, forcing her to rest for six weeks from February and enter the marathon “unfit and unprepared”, Paula finished in a jaw-dropping time of 2hrs, 36mins and 55secs. Finishing 13 minutes behind Ethiopian winner Tigist Tufa, Paula’s time placed her inside the 2hr 42min qualifying standard for the women’s marathon at next year’s Rio Olympics.

In an exclusive interview with WR earlier this year, Paula told us she expected her finale race to be “hugely emotional”. She said:

“It will be emotional for lots of reasons; for the fact it’s London, for all of the happy memories growing up and taking part, for all of the times that I couldn’t do it as well as the fact I couldn’t run at all.”

Paula’s predictions couldn’t have been more accurate, the sign presented to her at Embankment being a pivotal emotional moment in her final race. “There was a big sign at Embankment saying “we will miss you” but it won’t be as much as I will miss you,” said Paula.

Reaching the familiar finish to the roaring cheers of indebted fans, Paula’s beaming smile said it all, as she joined hands with club runner, Robert Danson, to cross the line.

Greeted at the line by her husband and children, Paula was overcome with emotion once again, holding her towel aloft to salute the London crowds a final time.

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