Paula Radcliffe hasn’t run a marathon in nearly two years, but on September 25 the women’s world record holder at the 26.2 mile distance will line up for the start of the 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon.
“Training has gone well and is building up well towards Berlin,” she said in a recent interview with Losse Veter.
Last September Radcliffe gave birth to her second child, son Raphael. She waited until May to return to racing at the BUPA London 10k. A back injury led to a disappointing third place finish, and afterward she told The Guardian that the race was a “disaster.”
Now Radcliffe says her back is healed. For the past few months she’s been alternating runs on the roads and the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. She’s back to her regular training mileage, and down to two training sessions a week on the AlterG.
“This time coming back from the birth of Raphael has been really hard because I was a long way from my training runs in 2:15 shape. Now it’s starting to come back closer together so that encourages me,” she said.
This will be Radcliffe’s first appearance at the Berlin Marathon, on the same flat and fast course that Haile Gebrselassie set the men’s world record on back in 2008. Radcliffe has high expectations, but running a sub 2:15 marathon isn’t one of them.
“First and foremost the goal is to win and to feel good running, to enjoy running,” she said. “I don’t want to really push, push, push. I’d rather keep some for next year and recover quickly for next year. But at the same time I’d like to run sort of around 2:20s and see how it goes.”
Radcliffe also wants to prove she deserves a spot on the British team for the 2012 London Olympics. In 2004 she was the favorite for the gold medal, but ended up not finishing due to stomach problems. In 2008 she was slowed by leg cramps, and finished 23rd overall. She’ll be 38-years-old next summer, and realizes it may be her last shot at an Olympic medal.
“It’s at the end of my career but I think it’s still a boost for me to be in England and have that support,” she said. “Hopefully this time things can go right for me in the Olympics.”
Check back on September 25 for complete coverage of the 38th BMW Berlin Marathon.
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