• Athletics

Radcliffe's marathon world record invalidated

ESPN staff
September 21, 2011 « Recovering Hargreaves targets England return | Chartbeat test »

Paula Radcliffe has learned that her marathon world record will no longer stand after the sport's governing body changed the criteria.

Under new rules passed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Radcliffe's 2003 mark of two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds is no longer valid as a world record because it was run in a mixed environment.

The new rules, designed to discourage male pacemakers from helping women to achieve quicker times, means that Radcliffe's mark, set at the 2003 London Marathon is no longer a women's world record, but a world best. Her 2005 London time of 2:17:42 has been upgraded to the world record.

World Major Marathons (WMM) and the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) issued a joint statement calling the decision "unfair" and "confusing"

"The vast majority of women's road races throughout the world are held in mixed conditions," said the statement. "[And] the current situation where the fastest time is not now recognised as a record is confusing and unfair and does not respect the history of our sport."

Radcliffe will make her marathon comeback in Berlin this weekend, her first race over the distance since the birth of her second child Raphael last year. Radcliffe 37, admitted it was only the "carrot" of London 2012 that had kept her from retiring.

"This year has been the hardest ever and if I didn't have London I might have given up," she said. "Having injury and illness is always difficult. When you are battling through and you've had a number of setbacks, you wonder if you can take one more. I'd been lying if I said I didn't contemplate giving up, especially when you suffer more and more setbacks.

"I did have a couple of weeks of thinking I wasn't going to do it anymore but then a couple of days later I was back and decided I wanted to try and do it. I still enjoy doing what I am doing and when I am healthy there is no place I would rather be. You have the carrot of London in 2012 and that is what I am working towards."

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