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Paula Radcliffe is an athlete competing in track and field at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for Great Britain. Representing her country at the Olympics for the fifth time in her career, she figures to contend for a medal in the women's marathon. Radcliffe is still looking for her first Olympic medal. At the 1996 Games in Atlanta, she finished fifth in the 5000m. In Sydney four years later, she placed fourth in the 10,000m. In Athens in 2004, Radcliffe was unable to finish the 10,000m or marathon races. In Beijing in 2008, she finished 23rd in the marathon.

In need of an Olympic qualifying time for London, Radcliffe turned her attention to the Berlin Marathon and flat course built for speed. Although she was unable to keep pace with Kenya's Florence Kiplagat and Germany's Irina Mikitenko, Radcliffe was able to finish third in 2:23:46. On Dec. 5, she and veteran teammate Mara Yamauchi were the first two athletes selected to the British Olympic team.

With no major international championships on the 2010 calendar, Radcliffe used the time to heal and to add to her family. On Sept. 29 of that year, she gave birth to her second child, a son, Raphael. Following a 19-month layoff, she returned to competition at the Bupa London 10-K, where she finished third. She termed the performance "a bit of a disaster," and revealed that she was suffering from a tear in a one of the discs in her back.

Following the Beijing Olympics, Radcliffe went on to win the ING New York City Marathon for the third time, running 2:23:56. Following the race, Radcliffe suffered more injury setbacks. She had to withdraw from the 2009 London Marathon due to a fractured toe. In March that year, she had a bunion removed which doctors believed was the cause of her other injuries. She did not run competitively for almost 10 months, but made herself available for inclusion on the British team for the World Championships. Her first race back was the New York City Half Marathon, which she won in 1:09:45. Afterward, she pulled out of the World Championships as she felt unfit. She also missed the World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham due to a bout of tonsillitis.

Radcliffe withdrew from the 2008 London Marathon due to a foot injury. Shortly after the London Marathon, it was also revealed that Radcliffe was suffering from an injury to her hip, which prevented her from running. Originally thought to be a muscular problem, scans later revealed the injury to be a stress fracture to her femur. Nevertheless, Radcliffe managed to get to fitness level for the Beijing Olympics, but cramped during the marathon to the point where she had to stop running and stretch. She resumed the race and finished 23rd.

Radcliffe's distinctive nodding action while running has made her instantly recognizable. She is not known for her sprint finish and relies on setting a punishing pace from the start in order to pull away from her opponents and open up an unassailable gap.

Radcliffe did not compete in 2006 due to injuries and pregnancy. After giving birth to her daughter, Isla, in January, her comeback was further delayed in 2007 due to a stress fracture in her lower back. Radcliffe did not compete at the World Championships in Osaka, making her return to running on Sept. 30, 2007 when she finished second to American Kara Goucher in the Great North Run half-marathon. Radcliffe made her marathon return at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4, winning in 2:23:09.

Radcliffe won the 2005 London Marathon with a world-leading time of 2:17:42. The race however is remembered more for a notorious moment towards the end when Radcliffe, feeling hindered by bowel discomfort, stopped and defecated on the side of the road in view of the crowd and TV cameras, which broadcast the incident live. After the race she apologized and explained that she was having stomach cramps and the pain was causing her to lose time. "I thought 'I just need to go and I'll be fine,'" Radcliffe said after the race. "I didn't really want to resort to that in front of hundreds of thousands of people." In November 2006, the incident was voted top running moment in history in the UK.

Radcliffe is the current world record holder for the women's marathon, which she set during the 2003 London Marathon in April, with a time of 2:15:25. The time remains one of the highest scoring performances ever. Based on IAAF world ranking points, at 1,307, Radcliffe's record is higher in value than Florence Griffith-Joyner's 100m and 200m records and Michael Johnson's 400m record. This score would equate to between 9.75 and 9.76 in the men's 100m. Asafa Powell of Jamaica holds the world record of 9.74.

In 2002, Radcliffe made the move up to the marathon, a decision that immediately paid off with victory at her debut race in that year's London Marathon. Her winning time of 2:18:55 was the second fastest in history behind the world record of 2:18:47 set by Catherine Ndereba, of Kenya, in Chicago in 2001. In Chicago later that year, Radcliffe broke the world record with a winning time of 2:17:18. After the performance, Radcliffe was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Radcliffe's early running success came in cross-country events. In 1992, she won the World Junior Championships, beating Wang Junxia of China. She missed the 1994 season due to injury, but rebounded with a string of strong results on the track. She finished fifth in the 5,000m at both the 1996 World Championships and 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Although she won silver in the 10,000m at the 1999 World Championships, Radcliffe seemed destined never to win a major 5,000m or 10,000m title, finishing out of the medals at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the 2001 World Championships.

Radcliffe was born in Davenham near Cheshire. Her family then moved to nearby Barnton where she attended Little Leigh Primary School. Despite suffering from asthma and anemia she took up running at the age of 7, influenced by her father who was an avid amateur marathon runner. When Radcliffe was 12, her family moved to Bedfordshire, where she became a member of the Bedford Athletic Club. Her father became club vice-chairman and her mother, a fun-runner, managed the women's cross-country team.

Radcliffe, who studied French, German and economics while earning her degree in European studies at Loughborough University, now resides in Monaco and is married to her trainer, Gary Lough, a former international 1,500m runner. The couple has a daughter named Isla, who was born in January 2007. Radcliffe, who was 33 at the time, endured 27 hours of labor giving birth to Isla.


How tall is Paula Radcliffe? How old is Paula Radcliffe? Where does Paula Radcliffe live? Find out here.

Age: 42 years old
Birthday: December 12, 1973
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 119 lbs.
Nickname: Queen Paula
Plucky Paula
Full Name / Real Name: Paula Jane Radcliffe
Birthplace: Davenham, Cheshire, England, UK
Hometown: Bedfordshire, Cheshire, England, UK
Current Residence: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Husband: Gary Lough

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