Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Radcliffe Set to Hit the Jackpot

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Radcliffe Set to Hit the Jackpot

Article excerpt


PAULA RADCLIFFE, the newly-crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year, is set to scoop the biggest pay day in the history of British athletics when she defends her Flora London Marathon crown next year.

She finally signed a deal to run next year's race yesterday lunchtime, hours before she was crowned the winner of the BBC award, collecting more than 500,000 votes from the public than her nearest challenger, David Beckham.

London Marathon organisers admit they have had to pay more for her presence in next year's race following her incredible exploits in 2002 which have made her the sport's biggest catch.

With prize money and time bonuses remaining the same for the 2003 race next spring, Radcliffe is on course to pick up more than the estimated pound sterling500,000 she gleaned in appearance fees, prize money and record bonuses for her brilliant debut marathon on the roads of the capital last April .

To hit the jackpot again she would have to break the world record for a women's only marathon, 2hrs 18mins 56secs, which she set in London. Of course, she bettered that mark to record the undisputed best-ever time, 2:17:18, in her second marathon, a mixed race, in Chicago two months ago.

Radcliffe had deliberated long and hard about the best way to prepare for her main goal, the 2004 Olympic marathon in Athens and had said after Chicago that she might not run a marathon at all in 2003 as she focused on achieving a world championship track gold.

But last night she revealed: "I've just decided I'll be running the Flora London Marathon next year. It set me up really well for my goals this year so next year my aim will be London and then the 10,000 metres at the world championships in Paris."

London organisers are thrilled to have captured her signature as they had already lined up the rest of the world's top women for the event, including Kenyan Catherine Ndereba, whose record Radcliffe broke in Chicago, Ethiopian Derartu Tulu, the double Olympic 10,000metres champion, Italian Maria Guida, the European champion, and Kenya's Joyce Chepchumba. …

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