Paula Radcliffe made it pretty plain after clinching the World marathon title in Finland on Sunday she intends re-inventing her track career and probably next year. Insisting she still has a track future, the England and the Norwich Union GB selectors will be praying Radcliffe will defend her Commonwealth Games 5000 metres and European Championship 10000m titles next year. Everything appears to be pointing in that direction after Radcliffe the world record holder, slaughtered her marathon opponents with her gun to tape championship record win in Helsinki.
Track in the future
The victory proved she is currently the world's greatest over the distance and until Beijing in 2008 where she intends atoning for the tragedy of failing to finish in last year's Olympic Games, has nothing to prove. "You will see me running on the track again in the future," Radcliffe insisted after adding the World Marathon gold medal to the three half marathon and two cross country crowns already in her possession. It is very important to me now that I have been successful on the roads," added Radcliffe, a runaway winner ahead of Catherine Ndereba, Kenya's Olympic silver medallist.
Now the Bedford star having accomplished her major aim for this year, looks set to change direction and again show she is a match for the world's top 5000m and 10000m performers.
"I’m going to go away now, relax and have my break and then just make plans from there." said 31-year-old Radcliffe who will initially base herself at home in Loughborough, rather than returning to her Font Romeau training base in the French Pyrennees.
Gary Lough her husband and manager insisted nothing is set in concrete for the immediate future or next year where the Commonwealth Games and European Championships are track and fields two high profile meetings. But Radcliffe after her robust victory three years ago in Manchester when she thrilled English fans with a runaway home win, has every reason for competing in Melbourne.
The Games in March offer the opportunity of defending her title there and then flying further eastwards to Fukuoka in Japan, to bid for a third World Cross Country title.With a spring marathon wherever in April - will it be London or Boston - she could have a lengthy rest before bidding to win a second European 10000m gold medal in August. Lough although not denying those options are a possibility, says until his wife is rested after an exhausting run on Sunday. Nothing is planned even in the immediate future. The fact officials of the New York marathon which Radcliffe won after her Athens demise last November, were flocking around her after he monumentous Helsinki success, also raised speculation of another "Big Apple" appearance.
A third marathon?
However Radcliffe having already contested two marathons this year, might consider a third pounding of the roads over 26miles 382yards, might be counter productive to her health and future plans. But Radcliffe and her team are also well aware the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships take place on October 1 and even even after last weekend's tiring efforts, might consider with it being the last for the foreseeable future, fancy chasing a fourth title.
Although just missing out on a 2001 World 10000m medal in Edmonton, she is highly popular there after her gutsy performance and even more respected for the public stance she took when publicly displaying an 'EPO Cheats Out' board, on the night of the 5000m final.
The Canadian organisers earlier this year told the Press Association they wanted Radcliffe to run in their showpiece meeting and made it pretty plain she would would be well rewarded if returning there. Radcliffe herself for the moment is just savouring and trying to recover from her awesome victory where she won Britain's only gold and individual medal of the Championships.
She said: "I think it’s definitely special winning here, It’s right up there with running the world record. It goes with it. I think it’s important that as World record holder that I can show that I can win major titles as well.” Radcliffe on the opening night of the Championships used the 10000m as a build-up race for the marathon and finishing only,ninth it will have only spurred her ambitions of returning to track running. "I was disappointed with it," said Radcliffe. "I felt I should have run better. I don’t really know why I didn’t. Maybe I just had too much marathon preparation in my legs. Even so, I think I should have run better than that.”