Paula Jane Radcliffe is an English pro runner, who currently holds the world record for the women’s marathon. She set the record during the London Marathon in 2003, with a time of 2:15.25. She also won gold medal at the World Championships in Helsinki for the marathon in 2005.
Paula Radcliffe was born in Northwich, Cheshire, on December 17, 1973. She then grew up in Bedfordshire, joining Bedford Athletic Club, where she showed standout talent. In 1992, Paula won the World Junior Cross-country title. In 1995, competing in the 5000 meters, she finished fifth in the World Championships. She became famous for her pace-making style: running hard from the start with head bobbing from side to side.
Missing medals in the shorter distances encouraged Paula to increase her distance and she decided to move up to the marathon distance in 2002. This was more suitable to her talents and she gained considerable success at this distance. That year, she won the London Marathon and also set a world record in the Chicago Marathon.
In 2003, she broke her own world record in New York, reducing the time to 2:15:25. Later she has set some of the fastest times in the women’s marathon race.
She was a firm favorite for the 2004 Athens Olympic Marathon. But her preparation was disrupted due to a leg injury and a stomach upset. In spite of struggling to keep down food, she entered the marathon but finally had to withdraw in tears at 36 km. This made national headlines and she admitted it was difficult to let people down. She later said that the experience proved a motivating factor.
After that, she came back to form and won the New York marathon in 2004 and the London marathon in 2005. But the London marathon was also an unfortunate incident, when she stopped by side of road due to stomach cramps. 2005 was the year witnessed her first gold medal in an international championship in Helsinki, Finland. The Olympics have proved to be a disappointing experience for her. In Beijing 2008, she finished 23rd after cramping in the race and then in London 2012, she had to withdraw once again due to a leg injury. In 2015, after finishing the London Marathon, Paura retired from athletics.
Paula is also known for her strong anti-doping stance. She even wore a red ribbon to emphasize her support for blood testing to catch dopers.