Paula Radcliffe, the World Women’s record holder, wowed the crowds at the Cardiff Sports Expo as she set the scene for this weekend’s IAAF/Cardiff university World Half Marathon Championships.
Even though she fell fowl of the M4 traffic on her way to Wales from Heathrow airport, the queen of British athletics thrilled everyone with her predictions for the weekend.
“I really do think we’re going to see a spectacular event – it’s a great course, the organisers have been brilliant and we’ve got the worlds best athletes battling it out for world medals,” said Radcliffe, who won the title 3 times in her amazing career.
“Mo has got a great shot at winning, but he’s going to have some real opposition from the Kenyan duo of Geoffrey Kamworor and Bedan Karoki. It really is going to be explosive.”
“The women’s race is also going to be quick. The Kenyans are the ones to beat, but look out for Alyson Dixon as she runs to get ready for the London Marathon”
“It’s great to have a world class event like this in the UK and I know from first hand experience, with grandparents from Camarthen, that Wales is a land of sport and the fans really are going to come out and support Mo and the rest of the British Team.”
Not only did Radcliffe speak at the first day of the Expo, but she went on to give a private audience to 200 lucky local athletes at the Hilton Hotel. There she answered questions from young and old and gave a great insight into the value of running, keeping fit and staying healthy in life.
“It’s great to see so many women here tonight,” Radcliffe told the invited audience, “and I’m delighted to hear that there are more women in the race on Saturday than men”.
“I had to battle against athletics induced asthma when I was a teenager, but I found that athletics was the way out of my problem – not the root cause. I still love running today, but I don’t get hung up on times any more. I run for run, and the love of it, and it is still a very important part of my life”.
“I ran through my pregnancies, and felt better for it, and it really is a great discipline to have your in life”.