With each speedy step, Olympic runner Paula Radcliffe has established herself as one of the most inspirational British female athletes ever. A three time winner of the London Marathon (2002, 2003, 2005), three time New York champion (2004, 2007, 2008), and winner of the 2002 Chicago marathon, Paula has set record times that have yet to be broken - she completed the London Marathon in 2:15:25 and ran the Worlds Best 10km in 30:21.
On Saturday the 10
So, We Own the Night round two! How was your run this year?
Really good considering I literally came straight from the airport to the start line! My warm up was the first 5km. It was brilliant though, there was such a good atmosphere and its great to see even when the weather is awful everyone still gets involved. There are a lot of strong women here tonight.
Youve just got back from injury, how has it been getting back into running and training?
I had a massive operation so Im still working my way back to full fitness. Last year, I didnt think I was going to able to run the whole 10k but I did, and this year I was even faster. Im gradually getting stronger; its so motivating to look back at how far youve come. I was running with a girl for part of the race who said she was near the back last year and this year she was keeping up with me. Weve all come a long way together.
Why do you think events like this are important for first time runners and regular runners?
We Own the Night brings everyone together. While some people are trying to beat their times and set their own goals, its more about just getting out and celebrating running. It makes a sport that can seem quite solitary a really sociable event. Everybodys cheering each other on and its a lot of fun. Its great that Nike have teamed up with Us Girls Stars too so we can encourage girls at that vulnerable age who tend to drop out of sport and physical activity, that its a lot of fun. Obviously, ten year olds arent going to come and sip champagne afterwards but at least they can get into that lifestyle of running, feel more confident in their sports abilities and usually perform better at school, and just feeling better about themselves in general.
Is that why you got into it, because it makes you feel good?
Yes, and I incorporate that mentality into my childrens everyday lives. We run together not because were training, we do it because its a fun thing to do together.
Whats been your best ever run?
The London marathon is my favourite because of the atmosphere all along the course.
New York is very special too because you go through the five boroughs and it changes so much in each one.
Whats your favourite training route?
Up in the mountains in the Pyrenees. I love running along a high mountain trail and through the forest. Running by the sea is a close second.
How do you get yourself through a difficult run?
In training especially there are lots of runs when youre tired and just dont want to do it. Ill pick a route that really inspires me, put on a new pair of trainers because that makes me feel a bit springier, then nine times out of ten once youre out you enjoy it more than usual. There are times too when Ill just give myself a rest day. Constantly forcing yourself is not the right attitude.
Do you run to music?
Only in the gym. Otherwise, I like to hear whats going on around me. Robbie Williams Stronger used to be my go to song. Ive Gotta Get Through This by Daniel Beddingfield was another favourite. I like listening to songs that I associate with a certain period of training or preparation, or ones that I can relate to lyrics of.
Along with motivational lyrics, have you got a particular running mantra?
I think about my children. If Im at a really grueling point in the race Ill just count. I get to 100 and start again; its a great way of clearing my head and just pacing myself calmly.
What are you doing next, will we see you completing at any big races again?
At the minute, Im doing some 10kms to build up my fitness. My aim is to compete in the London Marathon 2015 or a race in New York. I want to do at least one more competitive marathon before I hang up my and then just carry on doing things like this just for fun.