BERLIN (20-Aug) -- World marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe will not attempt to win her second world marathon title here on Sunday, British team officials announced this morning. The 35 year-old three-time ING New York City Marathon winner has not recovered sufficiently from a foot surgery she had last spring.
"I am devastated that I wasn't able to be ready in time to represent Britain here in Berlin, especially having got so close in such a short time frame," Radcliffe said through a statement. "However, after having the surgery to successfully put the years of injury behind me it is very important to me that I come back to racing often and winning at 100% and continue strongly and successfully through to London 2012."
Radcliffe won last Sunday's NYC Half-Marathon in 1:09:45, just two seconds outside of the event record. She used the race to test her foot which was still visibly swollen after she competed. Although she competed well, the test wasn't successful enough in her judgement.
"Running in New York this weekend was a necessary part of the process to ascertain my race fitness, and after speaking with my coaching and medical team, I knew I was sadly just not quite ready."
Despite winning the World Marathn Majors events in London and New York three times each, Radcliffe has only won a single world or Olympic title. That came in Helsinki in 2005 when she won the gold medal in spectacular fashion, setting the championships record of 2:20:57, and winning by over a minute. She failed to finish the Athens Olympic Marathon in 2004, and limped to a 23rd place finish in Beijing last August, plagued by a leg injury.
"To lose an athlete of Paula's caliber is disappointing to say the least," commented U.K. Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee. "She won the World Championships in 2005 and a fit Paula would clearly be in contention to regain that title, but she has taken that difficult decision and we have to respect that."
With the withdrawals of both Radcliffe and Germany's Irina Mikitenko, a two-time Virgin London Marathon winner, Sunday's marathon here has no clear favorite. Strong teams have been entered by the Chinese, Japanese and Ethiopians, and America's Kara Goucher, the 2007 10,000m bronze medalist, must also be considered a contender.