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Last Updated: Monday, 7 April, 2003, 20:17 GMT 21:17 UK
How to stop Paula
By Chris Charles
Best time: 13 days

Paula Radcliffe, lager and curry
Paula would be hampered by lager and curry

Sunday's London Marathon was predictably turned into a Paula Radcliffe training session.

Our Paula was done up like a chicken in her foil blanket by the time the rest were queueing for ice creams on Tower Bridge.

Of course it's great for Britain to have a new Golden Girl, but wouldn't it be nice if the fella dressed as a dalek was still in contention 100 yards from the finish?

It could happen - but the organisers will have to dream up a string of elaborate methods to Stop Paula next year.


1. Handicapping:

A bit like the Grand National, but instead of sticking jockeys on contestants' backs, introduce a penalty points system.

The better you are, the larger the night.

In Paula's case, a hearty all-you-can-eat-for-a-fiver curry on the Saturday, washed down with at least eight pints of strong lager.

Then on to a club to dance the night away - arriving at the starting gate having had no sleep and still wearing high heels and a mini skirt.


2. Reverse psychology:

Make her go backwards.


3. Brace yourself:

Stick her in a neck brace so she can't toss her head from side to side in that curious manner of hers.

The loss of this in-built metronome would throw her off-balance completely and send her zig-zagging all over the course - possibly.


Dick Dastardly
Drat - and double drat!

4. The Dick Dastardly Special:

Team up with the villainous Wacky Races character and concoct a few cunning plans to put Paula off her stride.

Face it kids, there's nothing like a few tin tacs and oil slicks to disrupt your race plan - althought the former may cause more distress to Zola Budd than Paula.

Failing that, there's always the classic bogus road sign gag, which leads the unsuspecting runner to a half-finished bridge. Hours of fun for all the family.


5. Nipped in the Budd:

The piece de resistance - so simple, it's beautiful. Simply station Zola on the first bend and get her to 'accidentally' run into Paula, knocking her off balance.

Husband Gary will immediately rush to Paula's aid, and before you know it they'll be having a blazing row about whose turn it is to do the washing up, forgetting about the race completely.


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