England’s Paula Radcliffe won the World Championships’ title in the marathon in Helsinki on Sunday.
How do you feel after your first marathon victory at the World Championships?
Paula Radcliffe: “I feel great and I am very happy for the
gold medal. I feel relieved, but I knew that I was capable to win the
marathon. It is totally different to the races before. This time I had
no health worries and my shape was excellent. I was running well and I
could enjoy the race quite a bit. I have heard the people shouting my
name in many different languages, like Finnish, German and English of
course. And I even saw my name written on the street as in the Tour de
France – that was nice. It is my first gold medal in the marathon at
world championships and it was important to me as the world record
holder to show everybody that I can win major championships.”
You weren’t that strong in the 10,000 m as expected. What was the problem and do you think it helped you?
Paula Radcliffe: “I was disappointed, of course. I think I
had too much marathon preparation in my legs. But today I felt strong.
I wanted to run the first half in a comfortable but descent pace.
Between the 5 and 10 k section I felt really strong, and in the other
half of the round we had a lot of wind. But I got a good rhythm,
especially in the hills. I enjoyed the hills because it was nice to
change the rhythm a bit. Also I have trained on much bigger hills in
France, where I had my trainings base. These here weren’t as massive as
in Font Romeau in the French Pyrenees.”
You had won the World Cross Country as well. Which world title is more important for you?
Paula Radcliffe: “The World Cross Country Championships in
2001 were really important. It was my first focus – at that time I
wanted to be the World Champion in the cross country. Once I had
reached one big goal it was time for the next. And this was the world
championships’ title in the marathon – it is as important as the cross
title was for me in 2001. For the London Olympics in 2012 it won’t be
easy for Britain’s athletes. You need to give some athletes a little
bit of a break. We have to make athletics more attractive and make it
stronger. We need more young people to come through. This is important
to have successful Olympics.”