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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Saturday, 1 November 2008

Radcliffe clinging to 2012 dream

Paula Radcliffe
Radcliffe has struggled with injury in her past two Olympic appearances

Paula Radcliffe says she will "keep persevering" for the next four years in a bid to finally add Olympic glory to her accomplishments at London 2012.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's New York marathon, she pledged to fight for one last chance at marathon gold.

"I know the odds probably get less each time, but my whole philosophy is 'keep trying, keep persevering and keep going back there'," the 34-year-old said.

Radcliffe hobbled out of the Athens 2004 race and finished 23rd in Beijing.

But she refused to accept that she will be too old to compete for medals by 2012.

"I'll be 38 then," she said. "Constantina [Dita-Tomescu, Beijing marathon gold medallist] was 38 this year, so I know it's possible. I do believe that I still have the chance to have another shot in 2012.

The atmosphere and the support for the Olympics in your home country is an opportunity that I would never, never want to miss

Paula Radcliffe
"The Olympics is something that I've dreamed about since I was a little girl, and it's very important to me to keep trying to go back.

"It's very, very heartbreaking and disappointing that I've missed out - you kind of go through the whole thing thinking how unfair it is that I had to get injured just before the Olympics twice.

"And then I guess if I look at it philosophically, I've had to pull out of two other big city marathons because of injury. It's just that the Olympics is the Olympics and you desperately don't want it to happen there."

Radcliffe said an Olympics on her home soil would be "very special" and "important to Great Britain as a whole", and admitted it was now the key driving force behind her running.

"For me it's certainly a huge motivation to keep going and to get out there and perform well, because I think that the atmosphere and the support for the Olympics in your home country is an opportunity that I would never, never want to miss," she said.

Radcliffe will look to recover from the injury that plagued her Beijing bid in Sunday's New York event, where she competes as defending champion.


"It's a city that's very special to me and I've always loved coming here and racing over all the distances, and especially once I've started running the marathons here," she said. "November is just New York to me."

Last year's hard-fought win over Gete Wami in the city marked her return to racing, following the birth of her first child Isla 10 months previously.

"Last year it was just really enjoyable to get out there and be racing again," she said.

"I felt like I had missed it a lot with the time that I had out through pregnancy and then with the injury afterwards.

"It was a longer break and more of a lift in enjoyment and just exhilaration to be back racing again. I remember running over the Verrazano Bridge and it meant a big deal to me just to be out there racing with everyone else, and then to defend is important, too."

Radcliffe looked in superb form as she won last week's Great South Run in a British record time, but she faces a stacked field in New York.

Long-time rivals Wami and Kenya's Olympic marathon silver medallist Catherine Ndereba, plus rising stars Rita Jeptoo, also of Kenya, and Ethiopian Dire Tune, this year's Boston Marathon champion, are all among the starters.

American Kara Goucher and New Zealand's Kim Smith will also make eagerly anticipated marathon debuts.

see also
Superb Radcliffe wins Great South
26 Oct 08 |  Athletics
Radcliffe relishing New York test
01 Oct 08 |  Athletics
Tearful Radcliffe looks to 2012
17 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Radcliffe confirms marathon run
15 Aug 08 |  Athletics

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