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UK Athletics

Paula Radcliffe’s 20km world best goes

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Paula Radcliffe
While six months pregnant Paula Radcliffe enjoyed a jog – for her – in the Run London 10km on Sunday 8 October, her 20km world best was beaten by European Cross Country Champion Lornah Kiplagat (Netherlands) at the inaugural IAAF World Road Running Championships in Debrecen, Hungary.


Kenya-born Kiplagat clocked 63 minutes 21 seconds to win the title by a mere 2 seconds from Constantina Tomescu (Romania), who also dipped under the 63:26 clocked by Radcliffe on her way to victory in the 2001 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships at Bristol.


Of the Norwich Union GB athletes in Debrecen, Susan Partridge (City of Glasgow AC) finished 27th in 69:17 and Wendy Jones (Cirencester AC) was 38th in 70:55.


Both made enthusiastic starts, going through the first 5km in under 17 minutes in good weather conditions on a flat, four-lap course lined with plenty of spectator support.


Partridge felt she struggled from 9km but held her position well in the circumstances and lost only one place in the second half of the race.


Jones, returning after injury, can be well satisfied with her GB debut in a high quality field of 57 finishers.


Meanwhile, back in London’s Hyde Park, Radcliffe completed the 10km in a leisurely 43 minutes 44 seconds, which places her comfortably outside the fastest 366 women in the UK this year, as listed by the Power of 10 website.


Both the men’s and women’s races were dominated by athletes who are expected to be battling for places in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland teams for this winter’s European Cross Country Championships in Italy in December and World Cross Country Championships in Kenya in March.


The women’s race was won for the second time in three years by Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers). Proving she is over the health problems she suffered at the end of last Sunday’s Great North Run, she clocked 32:29, the third fastest time in the UK this year according to Power of 10 rankings.


Second and third places went to two 17-year-old athletes who raced at this summer’s IAAF World Junior Championships in Beijing.


Sian Edwards (Kettering Town Harriers), who was 10th in the junior women’s race at last winter’s World Cross Country Championships, took second place in 33:26, taking her to equal sixth in the UK’s senior women’s rankings for this year.


Steph Twell (Aldershot, Farnham and District) stepped up from her best track distance of 1500m with such success that she clocked 33:57, which puts her well inside the current UK top 20.


The men’s race was won by former European Under 23 5000m champion Chris Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham and District) in 30 minutes 4 seconds, 13 seconds ahead of his club mate Andy Vernon, the silver medallist at last winter’s Euro Cross. Third place went to Keith Gerrard (Manx Harriers), last year’s Run London winner, who clocked 31:02.