English long-distance runner Paula Jane Radcliffe was born on December 17, 1973. She is currently holding the world record for the women’s marathon, which she set in the 2003 London Marathon with the total time of 2:15.25. In 2005, she won gold at the World Championships in Helsinki for the marathon.
Radcliffe was born in Northwich, Cheshire and then grew up in Bedfordshir. There she joined Bedford Athletic Club and displayed considerable talent. She studied German and French at Loughborough University. This also gave her the chance to pursue her running career, starting with her win in the 1992 World Junior Cross-country. After that, she has competed at a high level on the international scene. She finished fifth in the 5000 metres of the 1995 World Championships, setting a trend for Paula – running gutsy races. She became famous for running hard from the start with her head bobbing from side to side.
Missing out on medals in the short distances encouraged Radcliffe to increase her distance and she moved up to the marathon distance in 2002. This was more suitable to her talents and helped her gain considerable success at this distance.
In the same year, she won the women only race at London Marathon with a world best time and later in the Chicago Marathon October 13, 2002, she also set a world record time of 2:17:18.
One year later, she smashed her own world record in New York with the time down to 2:15:25. Paula has set some of the fastest times in the marathon for women.
Joining the marathon distance gave her a firm favorite for the Olympic Marathon in Athens in 2004. But her preparation was disrupted by a leg injury and a stomach upset due to anti-inflammatory drugs. In spite of struggling to keep food down, she entered the game but had to withdraw in tears at 36 km. A few days later, she attempted the 10,000 metres but had to withdraw in the race again. As one of the highest profile medal contenders of Britain, this made national headlines. She admitted that it was difficult to let people down; however, the experience proved a motivating factor.