Paula Jane Radcliffe
Born in England in 1973, Paula Radcliffe is one of the elite runners competing today, having set and broken her own women's marathon record at the 2003 London Marathon, finishing in 2:15:25—her best marathon time to date. Radcliffe failed to place at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, but did win the New York Marathon that same year. Running the marathon at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, she suffered a muscle cramp and finished 23rd. She withdrew from competing at the 2012 Olympics.
After winning the world junior cross-country title in 1992, Radcliffe steadily developed as a distance runner. Following years of training, she won her first world cross-country long-course gold medal in 2001. She won her second in 2002.
Other achievements include a gold medal in the 5,000 meters at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and the 10,000-meter gold at the 2002 European Championships. Radcliffe also won the Chicago Marathon (women's division) in 2002, and was victorious at the London Marathon (women's division) in both 2002 and 2003.
At the 2002 Chicago Marathon, Radcliffe set a new women's world marathon record time of 2 hours, 17 minutes and 18 seconds. That same year, she was named "Female Athlete of the Year" by the International Association of Athletics Federations. At the 2003 London Marathon, Radcliffe broke her own marathon record, finishing the race in 2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds—her best marathon time to date—on April 13, 2003.
2004 Olympic Games and Setbacks!
There were high hopes for Radcliffe prior to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Unfortunately, those aspirations were dashed when Radcliffe failed to place in both the marathon and the 10,000-meter final. She did, however, win the New York Marathon later that year.
Radcliffe shared her experiences as one of track and field's top competitors in her 2004 autobiography, Paula: The Story So Far. The following year, the celebrated runner proved that her story was far from over. At the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, she won gold in the women's marathon.
In 2006 she was expecting her first child, Although she didn't stop she still continued to run. In january she gave birth to her daughter. When she went back to training she suffered from stress and back pain but she still continued to run in marathons.