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Page last updated at 06:07 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 07:07 UK

Radcliffe ready to 'give it a go'

By Claire Stocks
BBC Sport in Beijing

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Radcliffe is still chasing her first Olympic medal

Paula Radcliffe looks set to line up in the field for Sunday's marathon despite admitting she has yet to fully recover from a stress fracture in her leg.

Radcliffe told BBC Sport she had her best week of training so far.

But she admitted that were it not for a chance to win her first Olympic medal she might have pulled out long ago.

"Of course, I could do with a bit more time, but (I'll) just go in and give it a go. That's a hundred times better than watching on TV," she said.

"If it was a big city marathon or even a World Championships (I'd say) do not push it, make sure I was well prepared. But I do not want to sit there watching it wondering what could have happened," Radcliffe told BBC athletics reporter Phil Jones at the team's training camp in Macau.

The 34-year-old world record holder is still chasing an Olympic medal - having been forced to drop out of the 2004 marathon in Athens with dehydration, and the 10,000m a few days later.

Radcliffe was diagnosed with a stress fracture to her left femur in May - an injury so serious that many observers felt she would be unable to recover in time for Sunday's race (which starts at 0030 BST).

I'd rather go in like this than the shape I was in back in 2004 when I was not well

Paula Radcliffe

And she admitted she might not have embarked on her desperate race to get fit had she realised how serious the injury was at the time.

"It gives me a mental lift to have got this far because to be honest if they had told me the bleakest medical diagnosis, which came out in dribs and drabs in the end, I might have said: 'This is not going to happen'," she said.

"And there were times in the last 12 weeks when I thought 'How can this be happening, has someone put a jinx on me?'.

"But then I'd go to bed and think 'No this is the Olympics, I'm not going to give up'.

"And Gary (Lough, her husband and coach) said to me 'Someone is testing you to see how much you want it'."

And Radcliffe admitted that her experience in Athens had left a scar.

"It certainly means I have a lot of unfinished business with the Olympics. But I also think the Olympics are something more special anyway.

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"It was my dream as a little girl - you don't dream about World Championships, you dream about the Olympics.

"But regardless of what happened four years ago this still would have been something I fought for.

"I have not taken stupid risks with my leg - but at every point I have tested it and pushed it a bit further because you're taking a gamble.

"You have to ask yourself 'Are you prepared for the worst thing that can happen?' And for me the worst thing is not to be able to finish the race, and I have already faced that in Athens.

"There have been points when I really did not think I would make it so I will be the happiest of all the runners on the start line!

"The key is being in there fighting.

"The only reason I would not able to finish it would be if my leg could not handle it, but I have been encouraged as my leg has been coping with good amounts of running.

"That is the only thing that might stop me - I am not going to get Glycogen-depleted like I did in Athens. I'd rather go in like this than the shape I was in back in 2004 when I was not well."

see also
Injured Noguchi to miss marathon
12 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Radcliffe confirms marathon run
05 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Radcliffe rival out of marathon
02 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Radcliffe faces race against time
14 Jul 08 |  Athletics
First GB athletes arrive in China
28 Jul 08 |  Olympics
Radcliffe reserve to miss GB camp
31 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Injury 'bombshell' hits Radcliffe
22 May 08 |  Athletics
Team GB for Beijing
21 Jul 08 |  Team GB

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