Athletes Olympic athlete

Paula Radcliffe

Paula Radcliffe is a British long-distance runner. She is a three-time winner of the London Marathon, three-time New York Marathon champion, and 2002 Chicago Marathon winner.

She was previously the fastest female marathoner of all time, and held the Women’s World Marathon Record with a time of 2:15:25 for 16 years from 2003 to 2019 when it was broken by Brigid Kosgei.

Radcliffe is a former world champion in the marathon, half marathon and cross country. She has also been European champion over 10,000 metres and in cross country.

On the track, Radcliffe won the 10,000 metres silver medal at the 1999 World Championships and was the 2002 Commonwealth champion at 5000 metres.

She represented Great Britain at the Olympics in four consecutive games (1996 to 2008), although she never won an Olympic medal.

Her running has earned her a number of accolades including the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Laureus World Comeback of the Year, IAAF World Athlete of the Year, AIMS World Athlete of the Year (three times) and a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

She has also been nominated for World Sportswoman of the year on several occasions. In 2010, she was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame.

She ended her competitive running career at the 2015 London Marathon.

  • Full name: Paula Jane Radcliffe, MBE
  • Profession: British Olympic Track and field athlete
  • Born: 17 December 1973 (age 46 years), Davenham
  • Height: 1.73 m
  • Spouse: Gary Lough (m. 2001)
  • Children: Raphael Lough, Isla Lough
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About Paula Radcliffe

Radcliffe was born on 17 December 1973 in Davenham near Northwich, Cheshire, England. Her family then moved to nearby Barnton where she attended Little Leigh Primary School.

Despite suffering from asthma and anaemia, she took up running at the age of seven, influenced by her father who was a keen amateur marathon runner and joined Frodsham Athletic Club. Her family later moved to Kingsley.

When Radcliffe was aged 12, the family moved to Oakley, Bedfordshire and she became a member of Bedford & County Athletics Club.

Her joining the club coincided with a talented and dedicated coach, Alex Stanton, building the women’s and girls’ sections into one of the strongest in the country, in spite of Bedford’s relatively small size.

Radcliffe’s father became club vice-chairman and her mother, a fun-runner, managed the women’s cross-country team.

Her first race at a national level came as a 12-year-old in 1986 when she placed 299th out of around 600 in the girls’ race of the English Schools Cross Country Championships. She finished fourth in the same race one year later.

Radcliffe attended Sharnbrook Upper School and Community College. She went on to study French, German and economics at Loughborough University, gaining a first-class honours degree in modern European studies.


Radcliffe’s father was a keen marathon runner as a young man. He took up the hobby again in an attempt to lose weight after giving up smoking.

Despite suffering from asthma Radcliffe took up running at the age of seven. In 1992 Radcliffe discovered that she suffers from anaemia.

Radcliffe was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma at the age of 14 after blacking out whilst training.

During her father’s training jogs in the woods Radcliffe and her brother would often run with him for a mile or two.

Radcliffe attended Frodsham Athletic Club until the age of nine, Radcliffe became a member of Bedford & County Athletics Club, when they moved to Oakley.

There she was coached by Alex Stanton, who still fulfilled that role in her professional career. Stanton started to coach Radcliffe at the age of 12 after his wife Rosemary spotted her talent.

At the age of 10 Radcliffe, accompanied by her father, watched Ingrid Kristiansen run in the London Marathon, inspiring her to become an athlete.

Her first race at a national level came as a 12-year-old in 1986, when she placed 299th in the English Schools Cross Country Championships. In 1991 Radcliffe won the English Schools 1500 metres title.