The tears may have only just dried following her final London Marathon, but Paula Radcliffe is already focused on the next chapter of her glittering career.
Radcliffe became the women's marathon world record holder and won in London, New York and Chicago. She has also been a European Champion and has won medals at the World Championships and was the 2002 Commonwealth champion at 5000 metres.
“I have very special memories of being at the Commonwealth Games and especially Manchester in 2002, winning my first track title there. The atmosphere! The whole of the stadium singing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ was just amazing and still gives me goosebumps thinking about it now. I am really proud to be English and I think my most special memory of being English is in that stadium in Manchester.
“The Commonwealth Games is momentous occasion and everyone who was successful at Glasgow will feel the same as I did in 2002. These major competitions on home soil come along rarely and if any athlete was to ask me for my thoughts, I would just tell them to love every minute of it because it is so unusual.
“Glasgow 2014 was a tremendous occasion for all sports fans. It once again proved that the UK is more than capable of staging major international sporting events. Some of the world’s top athletes made a real name for themselves there. I can’t wait to cheer on England at the Gold Coast in 2018.”
Many of England’s athletes focused on the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia will be competing at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa, in September this year.
“I would tell this year’s young English athletes traveling to Samoa to enjoy it and embrace the experience. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and with the support of Team England, these athletes have the chance to progress on an international stage.”
Paula is currently focused on her role as an ambassador for the Great Run series, where she is promoting mass participation running events and aims to encourage more women to get running.
Radcliffe has also confirmed that she will continue working with the BBC and commentating and she will also take on a role with British Athletics where she will be working with young athletes and the endurance team. She also is backing Lord Coe in his bid for IAAF Presidency and if he’s successful, she hopes to work with him there.
Paula is excited about the next stage in her career; helping to transform the lives of many women, by introducing them to running.
“It’s all about being involved in lots of different things, including the Morrisons Great Run series, and being an ambassador there is really important because it’s introducing people to something I love doing and it’s getting to take part in those events all over again on a different side of it.
“It’s hugely important to get everybody running and active. But especially women, as there can sometimes be a few more inhibitions and barriers that will just prevent them from taking that first step and finding out how much they enjoy running. It’s about trying to encourage them to break through that, take that first step and hopefully take part in events like the Morrisons Great Newham London Run and really experience the atmosphere of it and want to do more of that.”
She continues, “I feel that running has given me a lot of pleasure, a lot of experiences and I want to share that with as many people as possible. So to be able to introduce as many people as possible and to see them get that enjoyment from running is really special to me.”
Radcliffe recognises that there are always barriers when it comes to running, but believes that there are no excuses and everybody can run.
“I really do feel that it’s a sport that is accessible to everybody at some level. Running is so easy, you can do it anywhere; you can do it socially with friends and make it a real social occasion or you can just do it on your own if you just want time out for you, with your thoughts.
“I think we know that as a nation, and probably worldwide, we need to get more active and get healthier and running is a great way to do that, probably the most efficient way to exercise and it’s the most fun way too, being out there in the fresh air and you can do it all together as a family.”
For more information, or to sign up for the Morrisons Great Newham London Run, visit http://www.greatrun.org/great-newham-london-run