måndag 1 december 2008

"We’re a lot closer than we were 10 years ago..."

Paula Radcliffe: Don’t write me off for 2012
Runner Paula Radcliffe on her love affair with New York and hopes for the London Olympics.
-Which runners did you most admire as a child? Liz McColgan and Ingrid Kristiansen, because I was watching with my dad when Kristiansen set the marathon world record in 1985.
- Will your daughter Isla follow you on to the track? I won’t push her into running but will encourage her to take up a sport, because I think it’s important.
- Will you go into coaching when you hang up your spikes? I’d like to. I don’t know much about coaching but would like to give something back to youngsters, encouraging them to take up sport.
Why did you wait until you were 28 before running your first marathon? I knew I would eventually turn to the marathon but wanted to leave it until I was mentally ready, when I really wanted to do it. I did it at the right time. I went as far as I thought I was going to with the 5k and 10k.
- How close are we to a drug-testing programme that athletes and the public can trust? We’re a lot closer than we were 10 years ago when I started wearing a red ribbon (to campaign for blood testing) but still have a way to go. We’re halfway there.
- Does Britain have any distance runners who can win an Olympic medal in 2012? What we need to concentrate on is broadening our base. If we go into events with four people who have a chance, we have a better chance of pulling it off than if we go in with one who has all that pressure on their shoulders. An opportunity to compete in a major championships in your own country is a good thing. Never underestimate how much extra motivation that can give you.
- Will you run at London 2012? I hope so, and hope to do as much as I can to support those coming through.
- What is it with you and New York? You’ve won there threetimes now.
I loved it the first time I went, to run the Fifth Avenue mile in 1995. We arrived on a Saturday night, got up the next morning and went for a run in Central Park. We thought we had run into the middle of an event but it was just a Sunday morning in the park. It was amazing, the amount of people running, rollerblading and biking. You’re in the middle of a city that doesn’t stop and in an oasis of sport and fitness. I kept going back and the marathon takes it to another level, because it takes over New York for a week.
- D i d y o u e v e r t h i n k y o u wouldn’t come back after what happened at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics? Running is what I love doing. Even if I hadn’t made a career out of it I would still be running every day. I got kicked in the teeth with what happened in Athens and Beijing, when I had bad times through injury, but running has always been my pick-me-up.
- Would you feel unfulfilled if you didn’t win an Olympicmedal?
It’s something I’m capable of so I’d like to do it, but do I feel like I’d be a failure as a person if I didn’t do it? Not any more. After Athens, I probably would have felt like that. Part of the healing process after what happened there helped me deal with Beijing. Maybe it’s being older. Maybe it’s being a mum, too. Be grateful for what you’ve got. But there’s still a deep burning desire to get there.

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