Irina and Paula with their bibs
Paula Radcliffe, whose 8-year-old women marathon World Record of 2:15:25 achieved while paced by men in 2003 London Marathon turned World Best 2 days ago by the new criterion of the IAAF, will be making her debut at the widely recognised fastest marathon course in the world coming Sunday 25 September at the 38th BMW Berlin Marathon, her first 42.195km race since her poor 4th finish at the New York City Marathon 2009.
However her third best time of 2:17:42 at London 2005 was taken to retain her as the World Record holder making her a double holder in world record and world best in women marathon (she set the previous world record of 2:17:18 in Chicago 2002 which was broken by herself with the 2:15:25 London 2003 mentioned above)
The 37 year old Briton will likely face stiff competition from local favourite Kazakh born German Irina Mikitenko, winner of London Marathon in 2008 (2:24:12) n 2009 (2:22:11) and she won here in her PB of 2:19:19 in 2008.
Other strong contenders in the field will be an all Russian line up of Lidiya Grigorieva who won in Boston and Los Angeles in the last five years, and Tatyana Petrova, winner in Los Angeles in 2009.
Paula said in today's press conference that when she was accompanied by men in London 2003, she made a point of running beside them, and even competing with them, rather than following. “I honestly don’t think that running with men makes any difference. I would still have done in the 2.15s." she said.
Irina said that Paula had been an inspiration for her and added that “Seeing how Paula developed from the track to the Marathon encouraged me to do the same, because we had raced on the track as youngsters."
“I’m really looking forward to running on Sunday. Having Paula in the Marathon will give the whole event a different atmosphere.”
Top 10 women marathon results in history: (As of Boston 2011)
1) 2:15:25 - Paula Radcliffe (GBR) London 2003 ---> World Best
2) 2:17:18 - Paula Radcliffe (GBR) Chicago 2002 -- (old world record)
3) 2:17:42 - Paula Radcliffe (GBR) London 2005 ---> World Record
4) 2:18:47 - Catherine N'dereba (KEN) Chicago 2001
5) 2:18:56 - Paula Radcliffe (GBR) London 2002
6) 2:19:12 - Mizuki Noguchi (JPN) Berlin 2005
7) 2:19:19 - Irina Mikitenko (GER) Berlin 2008
7) 2:19:19 - Mary Keitany (KEN) London 2011
9) 2:19:26 - Catherine N'dereba (KEN) Chicago
10) 2:19:36 - Deena Kastor (USA) London 2006]