Following the announcement that world record holder Paula Radcliffe will conclude her marathon career by competing in the 2015 London Marathon, we highlight ten outstanding moments from a stellar life in athletics.

1. World Cross Country Championships, 1992

It was on a snow-covered ground at Boston's Franklin Park when Paula Radcliffe announced herself as a future star by winning the women's junior race. Aged just 18 at the time, and recovering from a bout of anaemia (a condition of the blood which she inherited from her mother), she defeated a field which included future 3000m and 10,000m world record holder Wang Junxia of China and Gete Wami of Ethiopia, a future world 10,000m champion and long-time rival of the Briton.

2. World Half-Marathon Championships, 2000

After several frustrating years of near misses at major championships, the Englishwoman finally grabbed her maiden global title in Mexico. A little over a month after placing fourth in the 10,000m final at the Sydney Olympics, Radcliffe finished the race in port city of Veracruz more than half a minute ahead of her nearest rival, Susan Chepkemei.

3. World Cross Country Championships, 2001

Another key staging post in Radcliffe’s career came in Ostend when the endurance ace collected her first World Cross Country title. It was the sweetest of victories as she turned the tables on her long time rival Gete Wami by out-sprinting her in the latter stages of an epic battle fought out in the Belgian mud.


Paula Radcliffe Boston Junior ()


A young Paula Radcliffe wins the 1992 World Cross Country Championships

4. London Marathon, 2002

The track and field world all knew Radcliffe was best suited to the marathon and the Briton emphatically proved it in her debut over the 26.2-mile distance. She laid waste to the field to register 2:18:56 – a record for a women-only race, and within nine seconds of the absolute best of Catherine Ndereba’s world record. Later that year Radcliffe would make the record her own courtesy of a 2:17:18 clocking in Chicago.

5. Commonwealth Games, 2002

Radcliffe grabbed her first elusive track title with a typically dominant front-running display amid a sea of waving English flags in Manchester. The home favourite kicked clear of her main rival Edith Masai of Kenya in the final mile to take the 5000m title in a new Commonwealth Games record 14:31.42.

6. European Championships, 2002

A little over a week after her Commonwealth Games victory and riding on the crest of a wave, Radcliffe shrugged off running in a deluge of rain to take 10,000m gold in a European record time of 30:01.09 with another fearless front-running display. At the time it was the second fastest women's time in history for the distance. Today it still stands at number six.


Paula Radcliffe in London with her world record figures (Getty Images)


2:15:25 – Radcliffe's world record remains untouched

7. London Marathon, 2003

Quite simply the definitive performance of Radcliffe’s career: a stunning 2:15:25 time hacked a scarcely believable 1:53 from her own world record mark. A measure of the quality of the jaw-dropping display is it is one of the highest IAAF performances of all time according to ranking points and 12 years on the next fastest women in history is some 2:55 slower.

8. New York Marathon, 2004

Just three months after her Olympic dreams ended in a puddle of tears on an Athenian sidewalk, Radcliffe rebounded from the heartbreak to secure a narrow three-second victory over Susan Chepkemei in The Big Apple. It was not the Olympic gold she desperately craved, but it was redemption of sorts.


Paula Radcliffe Helsinki SPIKES ()


Finally world champion in 2005

9. World Championships, 2005

It was a long time coming but on the streets of Helsinki Radcliffe proved she could also perform in championship marathons. In a blissfully drama-free day she comfortably secured gold in a time of  2:20:57 to finish more than a minute clear of Catherine Ndereba of Kenya. 

10. New York Marathon, 2008

Just like four years earlier, NYC was to provide post-Olympic comfort. After finishing a distant 23rd in some distress at the Beijing Games, she took a decisive victory in 2:23:56 to record her third New York Marathon victory. It was also to prove the eighth and final marathon win of her extraordinary career.