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Radcliffe's New York Marathon tips

Date: Sunday, 1 November Start: 1400 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on the BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only)

By Nick Crowther

Radcliffe celebrates after winning the 2008 New York Marathon
Radcliffe is aiming for a New York Marathon hat-trick this year

Paula Radcliffe goes back to New York this weekend with a sense of déjà vu in the air.

She has won the marathon there three times before, on each occasion at the end of a year spoiled by injury, and now she is hoping that history can repeat itself once again on Sunday.

Despite the fact that her 36th birthday is now just over a month away, Radcliffe believes she is ready to put the disappointment of missing out on this summer's World Championships behind her.

"In some ways you get better with age," she told BBC Sport. "Things like endurance and mental strength, if anything, get stronger.

"You have to accept that sometimes it takes longer to recover from hard sessions and when you do get injuries sometimes it can take a bit longer for the body to heal as it gets older.

"But I don't think you need to put more work in. Sometimes you can get race fit quicker because you have that backlog behind you."

Nick Crowther

Radcliffe's experience of the Big Apple will stand her in good stead. As she has found out in the past, the marathon is vastly different to compete in than the other big-city races.

"New York is a difficult one in terms of the start because everybody has to get out to Staten Island and people doing it for the first time don't realise how early you have to get out there and how long you're out there," she said.

"The other thing is that the road surface is very different in New York to London. "Where London is pretty good tarmac most of the way, in New York there's a lot of concrete and a lot of potholes! So when you're running with a lot of people you have to keep your eyes down and be very aware - a lot of people twist ankles.

"There's a bridge when you go into the Bronx - around 18/20 miles - and that's metal grid. That's pretty hard on your feet at that stage as well.

"But a lot of people underestimate how much harder it can be running on concrete, so it's important to have good, well-cushioned shoes and be ready for a bit more dead-legged feeling in the final couple of miles than in London."

Radcliffe shares the amateur runner's love of going for a run when visiting somewhere for the first time.

"Definitely, definitely," enthused the world marathon record-holder. "That's the good thing about New York too - you get to run through a lot of the city and it changes from borough to borough.

"In London it's a great crowd but you know you're in London the whole way, whereas in New York you know when you're in Williamsburg, you know when you're in the Bronx - and they're totally different.

"One year some of the Jewish rabbis just started walking across the street right in front of us. I thought the camera bike was going to knock them over because they didn't even bat an eyelid or look at us. It was kind of a surreal moment."

Radcliffe has warned New York debutants of the unexpected effect of running on to Manhattan for the first time," she stated. "When you hit First Avenue it's just so loud!

"It's really quiet on the [Queensboro] bridge. All you hear is the footfalls of other runners around you.

Paula Radcliffe in action in the 10,000m at the 1999 World Championships
Second in the World Championship 10,000m was a "high-point" in 1999

"Then you just come down into this wall of sound and it's a massive, long, straight road and a lot of people pick up there at a dangerous point in the race - 16 to 17 miles - when you can empty reserves a little too quickly."

So has she ever been affected by it?

"I've always heard the warning stories so it hasn't affected me but I have seen Hendrik Ramaala a couple of times really surge hard on First Avenue and then pay for it a little bit coming back through the park," she revealed.

It was 10 years ago that Paula started on the long journey to running marathons.

"That was a really good year," she reflected. "I remember getting engaged and running about four personal bests on the trot then getting the 10,000m silver medal at the World Championships.

"But already in the back of my mind I was feeling the move towards the longer distances so that was the first year I did the Great North Run.

"I did it at the wrong time - at the end of a long track season - but really, really loved the road racing scene and the atmosphere."

It is a love affair that has grown over the years.

"Road racing is something really special," she added. "It's something you don't get on the track because you have 35,000 people all doing the same race and you really pick up on that camaraderie."

see also
Radcliffe falls short in New York
01 Nov 09 |  Athletics
Motherhood: a boon for the body?
15 Sep 09 |  Health
Radcliffe pulls out of marathon
20 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Radcliffe wins NY half-marathon
16 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Radcliffe out of London Marathon
05 Mar 09 |  Athletics
Radcliffe romps to New York win
02 Nov 08 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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