x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Radcliffe will compete in the London Marathon

The world record-holder Paula Radcliffe will return to the London Marathon next year in a bid to win the event for a fourth time.

LONDON // The world record-holder Paula Radcliffe will return to the London Marathon next year in a bid to win the event for a fourth time. The British runner, who has missed the London race the past four years, will face a strong field on Apr 26 that includes the defending champion Irina Mikitenko of Germany and two other former winners. Radcliffe, winner in 2002, 2003 and 2005, will aim to match the achievement of the Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen, who won the London Marathon four times between 1984 and 1988.

"It's fantastic to be back," Radcliffe said. "I've missed the last three years through injuries and it was frustrating not to be fully fit for the Olympic Games this summer. "But after my victory in New York last month I'm hungry to win back my title and join Ingrid in the record books." Radcliffe successfully defended her title at the New York City Marathon to win the race for a third time, clocking 2hrs 23mins 56secs. Radcliffe has set world records in all three of her previous appearances on the London course. Her time of 2hrs 15mins 25secs still stands as the fastest ever time.

"Naturally, she is keen to regain her London title but this will be her toughest marathon yet," the race director David Bedford said. "With nine women who have run quicker than 2hrs 22mins, this is without doubt the best field we've ever assembled for the women's race." After Mikitenko's win last year, she went on to win the Berlin Marathon in September. The field will also include the Beijing Olympic gold medallist Constantina Dita, 38, from Romania. The world champion and Olympic silver medallist Catherine Ndereba of Kenya and the Chinese Olympic bronze medallist and 2007 London champion Zhou Chunxiu are also likely to test the Briton.

*AP