Hero of Running Moms Everywhere
Paula Radcliffe, my introduction to her took place on November 4, 2007, while laying in my bed with my five month pregnant belly watching the ING New York City marathon on channel 7.
I'll never forget the day, beautiful, blue sky, perfect weather for running and I was feeling a little down over the fact that I wasn't out there.
It had been a dream of mine to run the NYC marathon for several years now and this was supposed to be that day until a two week break after the NYC half in August turned into a two month break and then I just didn't have enough time to train, not with my baby's health being the number one priority for the moment.
Well, you probably know what it's like to be pregnant and questioning whether your life as you know it is completely over, laying there feeling nauseous and bloated, wondering if you will ever be active again.
But my dreams were reborn that day as I sat there and watched Paula Radcliffe, running the NYC marathon, her head bobbing up and down, trucking it out mile after mile. The point I knew she was going to win, knowing nothing about her at that time, was when her opponent ended up sprinting past her for a moment in Central Park.
Well, if Paula felt at all ruffled, she sure didn't show it. She just kept trucking it out bobbing confidently, like she was born to do this, like this was nothing for her, like no one had anything on her and then when her opponent became tired and started lagging back again, Paula just kept up her same pace, without missing a beat, right on through the rope, crossing the finish line in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 9 seconds, where she was greeted by her 10 month old baby.
That's right, Paula Radcliffe won the NYC marathon, having given birth only 10 months before. No matter who she was or what kind of training or coaches she had, I knew at that moment that if she could win the NYC marathon with a 10 month old, I could run it the next year with an 8 month old.
And any time I had any doubts during my training, pushing that jogging stroller through Central Park, I just thought of Paula Radcliffe being greeted by her baby, and then I pictured my baby waiting to greet me at the finish line.
In 2008, she came back again and this time I wasn't sitting watching on the TV, I was running behind her. Well not right behind her...several hours behind her. But I called my baby's daddy as I was struggling to cross the Queensborough bridge, 15 miles already behind me, and sure enough he announced that she had won the NYC marathon again, this time in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 56 seconds.
My favorite Quote by Paula Radcliffe
"There are people...who choose not to let others get too close, or to put themselves in certain situations, because they are afraid of getting hurt. I have never been like that. Being hurt once is no reason to lock your heart away. Hurt heals, and if you never take chances you might never find who or what you’re looking for.
It’s a little bit like my attitude to racing: I give all I can and lay everything on the line. If sometimes it doesn’t pay off and ends in severe disappointment that’s no reason to be afraid to come back again and again and keep trying. If something is important to you there is no limit to how hard you will try to achieve it. Yes, I had been hurt in the past, but it wasn’t an experience I regretted. There were never regrets."
From her book, Paula: My Story So Far by Paula Radcliffe, in the chapter titled Running Battle.
Some facts about Paula Radcliffe
Born December 17, 1973 in Davenham, Cheshire, England.
Both Paula's parents were runners, her father was also a marathon runner...so running moms, you never know how much your running will inspire you children! ;-)
Paula suffered from asthma and anemia...two things that make running significantly more difficult since asthma affects the breathing and anemia, a lack of iron, is very debilitating to the runner.
Talk about support, Paula Radcliffe is married to her trainer, Gary Lough.
She has won The World Half Marathon Championships 3 times.
Paula has won 8 out of the 10 marathons she's run.
April 2003, set the current world record for woman's marathon time by running the London marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds.
1992, Paula won the junior title at the World Cross Country Championships.
1993, at age 19, she came in 7th place at the World Championships.
1995, came in 5th in the World Championships (5000m).
1996, came in 5th in the Atlanta Olympic Games.
1997, won the silver medal at the World Cross Country Championships.
1998, Paula set the fastest debut time over 10,000m, covering the 25 laps in 30:48.58, the second-fastest time in the world for the 1998 season and a British record.
1999, won the Silver Medal in the World Championships in Athletics, she missed the gold by only a few seconds.
2000, came in 4th Place in the Sydney Olympics.
2002, won gold medals at both the Commonwealth and European championships.
2002, voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
2004, Athens Olympics, forced to drop out mid-marathon because of an injury...it was a choice of that or possibly risk a worse, career-ending injury. Although this was probably the lowest moment in her career, I thinks she made the right choice ;-)
2008, Awarded MBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire.
For more about this amazing running mom, check out her autobiography, Paula: My Story So Far.