Thank you Paula as London cheers her every stride

26 April 2015 / 13:15

London's streets echoed to shouts of her name as Paula Radcliffe was cheered every stride of her farewell London Marathon appearance.

This was a victory lap unlike any other. It's 12 years since she claimed her fabled world record on this course and a decade since the last of her three victories.

But there are still few more popular runners than Radcliffe, whose two hour, 15 minute and 25 second best is likely to stand the test of time, according to many seasoned observers.

And despite injury problems in the race build-up, she still clocked two hours, 36 minutes and 55 seconds - making the 41-year old the fourth fastest British woman in the race.

Ethiopia's Tigist Tufa won but Radcliffe would have been a staggering one and a half miles ahead of her if you'd rewound the clock to 2003 - which underlines just how much impact she continues to have on a sport that she forever changed.

"I didn't care about the time, the whole way around I just wanted to thank as many people as possible," said Radcliffe. 

"I went off way too fast and every time I tried to slow down someone shouted it but you can't do the London Marathon without making an honest effort.

"It was so emotional. There was a big sign on the Embankment that said 'we'll miss you' but not as much as I'll miss them.

"My ears are still ringing. It was amazing the whole way around, so many people were out there giving me encouragement and I'm so grateful to all of them."

Sonia Samuels was the first British woman home in two hours 31 minutes 45 seconds while Scott Overall finished 13th in the men's race, won by Eliud Kipchoge, who led home a Kenyan 1-2-3-4.

"I'm a little disappointed, 30 seconds quicker and I would have been a lot happier but it's a step in the right direction," said Overall, who clocked two hours, 13 minutes and 13 seconds.

"This is a stepping stone towards the Olympics for me. I need to sit down with my coach and decide on the plan now because Rio is the ultimate aim."

© Sportsbeat 2015