Paula Radcliffe, is one of Britain’s favourite sports personalities, as well as the greatest female long distance runner Britain ever produced. She still holds the world record for the marathon with her time of 2:15:25 hours.
This world record was achieved in less than glamorous circumstances at the London Marathon 2005. This shining star proved to the world that she is human like everyone else. She achieved her world record by listening to her body. When she needed to pee, guess what! She squatted on the side of the road to urinate, got up and kept running. She listened to her body and did what the body asked her to do, so that she could focus on her run. She did not let prejudice get in the way of what she wanted to achieve, and went on to win the marathon. This record is still out of reach of others.
Her story has been somewhat bitter sweet, she has shone at marathons across the world, but has never been able to pin down a medal at any of the four Olympics she has raced at. She has constantly battled with her body, her asthma, bronchitis and the most tragic of ailments for a runner, osteoarthritis, which attacks her left foot. Nonetheless, these issues she suffers from have been a significant contributor to her anti-doping campaign, encouraging athletes to stay off drugs like EPO that can enhance their performance.
She is an inspiration to us all, someone who has achieved the best, yet never been able to shine when she wanted to, a completely organic sportswoman. Paula Radcliffe values an honest win, and for that much she should be awarded a medal. In a world where winning at any cost is slowly but surely driving athletes to extreme measures, Paula Radcliffe stands for clean fun and endless hard work.
Paula Radcliffe, we salute you!