Olympics, Summer


11/1/08 in Olympics, Summer   |   arcotsuresh   |   respect

Radcliffe raring to go

Defending champion Paula Radcliffe relishes the chance to compete against a strong field in the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Radcliffe will bid to bounce back from Olympic marathon disappointment in Beijing nine weeks ago when she competes in the 40th edition of one of the world's most famous big city races.

Britain's world record holder will, however, have to get past a formidable line up including Ethiopia's Gete Wami, whom she beat in a sprint finish in Central Park 12 months ago, and old rival Catherine Ndereba of Kenya.

Also competing will be rising marathon stars Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Ethiopia's Dire Tune, who won the Boston Marathon in April, while Kim Smith of New Zealand and American Olympian Kara Goucher make their keenly anticipated debuts over 26.2 miles.

"It's definitely one of the strongest fields," Radcliffe said. "Olympic and world championship fields are very strong and so is London.

"I like that. I like to come here and know that you're in a really tough field and then to see what happens.

"It's a really, really strong field and that's why my main focus is just to do everything I can to win the race."

Radcliffe, 34, reiterated that while her 23rd place in the Olympic marathon was a setback, she was not the only one to have suffered in Beijing.

Referring to Wami's failure to finish due to a stomach bug, she added: "You can say I'm coming back after Olympic disappointment in Beijing but Gete is as well and she's going to be equally fired up and ready to go.

"I know how tough it is to race against her from last year and has been ever since '92 when we first met.

"Then there's Catherine (Ndereba) and her experience in the marathon and her ability to come back time and time again, there's Jeptoo, Tune and some special debuts this year from Kara Goucher and Kim Smith.

"I'm just really looking forward to getting out and racing hard."

Radcliffe, who tuned up for New York by winning the 10-mile Great South Run in Portsmouth last weekend in a British record, feels her preparations have gone as well as she hoped and Beijing took very little out of her.

"The way things worked out I wasn't able to run anywhere near as well as I wanted to in that race," she said.

"Actually what it took out of my legs was less than a hard training run.

"It's totally different coming into this race because I'm properly prepared and in Beijing I was frustrated in the end that I wasn't able to even perform as well as I should have been able to.

"That's in the past now though and I'm looking forward to it and to racing positively again."

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