Paula Radcliffe makes comeback and wins New York City marathon

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Paula Radcliffe during the New York City marathon, with Geti Wami on her heels.
Image: Ed Costello.

In a comeback after two years of inactivity due to stress fractures and becoming a mother, world record holder Paula Radcliffe from the United Kingdom has won the New York City marathon today. After leading the women's race almost all the way, she managed to shake off Ethiopian Gete Wami, who challenged her in the last mile. Third finished winner of previous two New York City marathons Jelena Prokopcuka from Latvia. The men's race was also a duel, but Martin Lel from Kenya managed to repeat his victory over Abderrahim Goumri from Morocco from the London marathon last April.

Radcliffe, 33, said that she had to think of her baby to keep up her pace: "I just kept repeating to myself 'I love you Isla' to keep my rhythm going." The elite runner has now won all seven marathons she has competed in, and has qualified for the upcoming Beijing Olympics of 2008, where she will try to rectify the forfeit from the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens.

Wami, who had just successfully defended her title in the Berlin marathon five weeks ago, still managed to take home the US$500,000 prize for winning the World Marathon Majors, a contest that spanned major races over the last two years (New York City, Boston, Chicago, London and Berlin).

In an interview just after finishing, Radcliffe expressed her grief over Ryan Shay, who died yesterday during the U.S. men's marathon trials in Central Park, by calling it "a tragedy, and it puts everything into perspective." Apparently Shay had a preexistent large heart, and died from a massive heart attack.