PAULA Radcliffe has had to nurse her tired body to the start line for her London Marathon farewell.
The 41-year-old will on Sunday run the 26.1-mile route on which she set the world record which still stands today – she ran two hours 15 minutes 25 seconds in April 2003 – among the massed amateurs.
“I’m lucky I wasn’t running this race to try to run it as fast as I could or to try to win it,” she said.
“If you were being competitive I would’ve pulled out five weeks ago. But I’ve just been there so many times and this time I just thought it doesn’t matter, essentially, if I run it in three hours or 2h 45m, just see if I can get healthy and get on the start line.
“I’m almost there and I’m hoping my body will remember a little bit once I get running.”
Radcliffe was concerned she might not be able to attend her final hurrah due to an Achilles problem.
She added: “People were saying ‘just run round really slowly’ but that’s actually probably worse for my foot because it’s longer out there impact wise.
“I’m glad now that it’s got to the point where it might get sore afterwards and I might feel a few twinges during it but I think it will get round.”
The injury appeared training in Kenya in February, disappeared and reappeared at her Font Romeu base in the Pyrenees when snow forced her on to the treadmill.
“Maybe because it was harder on the treadmill my Achilles started to get really sore,” she said. It was while working for the BBC at the European Indoor Championships in Prague that Radcliffe received attention from the British squad’s medical department.
“They said ‘we can’t see anything wrong with the tendon, we think it’s coming from the foot’.
“(I am) just lucky I’ve got a lot of support around me that I’ve built up over the years. Thanks to a combination of everything it started to get better.”