Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe yesterday delivered the clearest message yet that she will realise her dream of competing at the Beijing Olympic Games.
Radcliffe’s bid to win the only major honour to have eluded her has been in serious doubt since May when she discovered a stress fracture in her left thigh. But the 34-year-old is determined to prove wrong the doctors who told her it would be impossible to compete in the race on 17 August.
“I’m racing unless my leg breaks down and I can’t run. That’s it,” said Radcliffe. “The whole thing has been a race against time and a nightmare from when it was diagnosed and everything’s had to change and adapt to that. I’m getting more confident day by day because every day that you run more on it, it gets stronger.”
Radcliffe’s bid for marathon gold in Athens four years ago ended in heartache when she retired mid-race due to exhaustion, and she admitted there was a risk that injury could cause a repeat in China.
“Every day I go out and plan to start the race but I’m running on a leg that could break down,” she added. “Because I’ve not been running huge amounts at full body weight outside on it, they don’t know whether it will get me there.”