60 Seconds with Paula Radcliffe
Sport can be cruel. The elation of victory can be followed by great lows, as the intensity of training and competing at the highest level takes its toll on the body. No one knows this better than Paula Radcliffe, who has been plagued by injuries over the years - most recently when it mattered to her the most. Forced to abandon her dream of winning that elusive Olympic medal on home soil because of a foot injury, it is testament to Paula's mental strength that she is now focusing on recovery and her next goal.
Indeed, despite the crushing disappointment of pulling out of London 2012, the women's marathon world record holder and three time London Marathon winner says she is, amazingly, enjoying the Games and has been attending events to support Team GB, and most notably Mo Farah, who has been supported by Paula since the early days of his career when she paid for driving lessons so he could get himself to training. Online Editor Carys Matthews caught up with Paula to find out what's next.
Has the disappointment of London 2012 caused you to reassess your career goals? How are you feeling now?
It’s still so raw to be honest that I haven’t got over it yet. It was definitely the hardest part of my career, as it was something I’d visualised since 2005 when we found out that London was going to be hosting the Games.
It was something I was working towards every day, so to have my foot basically wear out on me just three weeks before the games has been really hard.
The only thing that makes it easier is that I’ve done basically everything I can to be on that start line as I’ve seen various experts - but still wasn’t able to do enough to run.
Do you think London 2012 will leave not just a lasting legacy for Britain, but for sport in general?
Definitely. I think what is so great about the Olympics is that is gives you the opportunity to watch such a variety of sports and feel inspired. It is going to be the biggest legacy for the UK.
I am however, glad that I’ve had the courage to come to London and see what an amazing games it is and see the atmosphere in the stadium – and of course cry and be so proud of Mo on Saturday night!
You have suffered a number of injury setbacks in your career, but always seem to manage to refocus, learn from the experience and return stronger and more positive – what’s your secret.
No great secret, it’s just the fact that I love what I do and always have the goal of the next race to work towards.
What motivates you in your training?
Watching the London Marathon is what inspired me to start running marathons, but in my training, again it’s working towards the next race and staying focused on that goal.
As a busy mum how do you fit your training around your family commitments?
It’s hard but I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband and family, which makes it work.
How important is it to you that your children are active and enjoy sport?
It’s so important. They both love sports, but what they do is totally up to them.
Sport is vital to everybody’s self-esteem and its been proven that kids who do sports perform and learn better in school.
How important will health and fitness be for you in the future?
It will always be a huge part of my life. I enjoy other sports, such as swimming and cycling but running will always be where my heart is.
What does the future hold?
I’m looking towards the next race...
Paula joined Olympic legend Carl Lewis
at the Nike + FuelStation launch at Clapham Common - a digitally enabled sporting clubhouse designed to inspire London's athlete community. To join enter here