Coe: Radcliffe's contribution to athletics is immeasurable

24 April 2015 / 11:59

Paula Radcliffe's contribution to athletics goes beyond a world record that could stand the test of time, according to British Olympic Association chairman Lord Coe.

It's 12 years since she ran her two hour, 15 minute and 25 seconds world best and this Sunday she will make her farewell competitive appearance at the Virgin Money London Marathon.

But Coe believes Radcliffe's real legacy will be seen in increased levels of participation, with more women among this Sunday's field of 40,000 than ever before.

"It's very easy to say that Paula has made seismic contributions to distance running, both on the track and on the road," he said.

"However, she did something else. She democratised our sport for women, she gave them permission to feel they could go out and run and be a part of something like the London Marathon. 

"It's not just the elite contribution she's made, it is a generation of runners, male and female, that have taken up the sport because of her.

"Paula has had a stupendous career and hopefully she'll enjoy every second and every stride of this weekend's London Marathon because she deserves every moment."

This weekend's elite field is viewed as the strongest in the marathon's storied 35 year history but elite field director Dave Bedford doesn't believe Radcliffe's world best and course record will be challenged.

"I think her run in 2003 was the greatest distance run, male or female, I've ever seen," he said. "I don't think we'll see her time beaten in the next 25 years."

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