'Magic of the London Marathon' gets Radcliffe round

Long-distance legend runs her last ever competitive marathon at the age of 41, as Sunday's event is deemed the biggest ever

(Image credit: Getty)

Three-time London Marathon winner and the darling of British long-distance running Paula Radcliffe said farewell on Sunday as she took part in her final marathon, running with the amateurs rather than elite field, and finishing the race in 2 hours and 36 minutes and 55 seconds.

A winner in 2002, 2003 and 2005, Radcliffe described the race to the BBC as "just amazing the whole way round" while claiming her trademark sunglasses "hid some tears along the way".

Radcliffe missed out on the chance to run in her home Olympics in 2012 due to a foot injury, and her race this year was put in doubt when she injured her Achilles tendon in training. "I came into this race unprepared and hoped the magic of the London Marathon would help me and I'm sure it did," she said.

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Despite the celebrations, The Guardian was however quick to point out that the 41-year-old's time was her slowest ever and that she even finished behind Spider-Man – athlete Paul Martelletti, who broke the world record for the fastest marathon dressed as a superhero.

It was a feat not unnoticed by Radcliffe. "My son Rafael will think it's great that Spider-Man has beaten Mummy," she said. Nonetheless her time was still good enough to qualify for next year's Olympics.

According to Metro this year's London Marathon was the largest ever with 37,800 runners both amateur and professional crossing the start line in Greenwich Park. This was more than matched by the number of spectators with the Evening Standard claiming there were up to 750,000 people lining the 26.2 mile route to cheer on the participants.

The men's elite race was all set to be a straight contest between two of the most successful distance runners in history – the world record holder Dennis Kimetto and reigning champion Wilson Kipsang. In the end it was a third Kenyan, Eliud Kipchoge, who surged away from Kipsang late on to claim the title.

In the women's race, perceived Kenyan dominance was upset by Ethiopia's Tigist Tufa who claimed her second marathon after last year's Shanghai title. Tufa's time of 2:23:22 was eight minutes off Radcliffe's world record, which should remain safe for some time.

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