Paula Radcliffe is putting a huge amount of pressure on herself to regain the World Championship title in the marathon next weekend. Radcliffe will run the New York City half-marathon today to gauge whether she is fit enough to challenge for a second world title in Berlin, a decision which naturally raised a few eyebrows. Radcliffe, 35, stressed that the British team's management have put her under no pressure to compete, but, when asked about the amount of pressure she places on herself, said: "A huge amount, especially when you see the team have been hit by injuries and withdrawals.
"It's important for me to be able to pull on that vest and win a championship for Britain. That was the aim at the start of the year and that never changes. In 2005 [when she won in Helsinki] I was in that situation and it brings out the best in me," she added. Running 13 miles today ahead of a major championship is unorthodox to say the least, but Radcliffe said there was no alternative to prove whether she is fit enough to contend for the gold medal on August 23.
"I don't just want to jump into a world championships and put myself on the line, especially in a marathon, so I want to test that out in a race beforehand. I want to feel good and run strongly," she said. * PA Sport