The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paula’s mixed blessing

Organisers of the London Marathon could rethink their stance on the women’s world record to give Paula Radcliffe the chance to run even faster.

Normally, Radcliffe, who broke the world record when she clocked 2::17:18.00 seconds in a mixed race in Chicago in October, would run in a separate women’s race, starting 30 minutes before the men’s.

However, David Bedford, the race director, said he would “seriously consider” a request by Radcliffe to run with the men on April 13.

That request has not yet come but Radcliffe’s husband and manager, Gary Lough, said on Sunday, “Anything is possible”.

London has staged separate men and women’s races since 1986. It was three years ago that organisers decided to make a stand by declaring that world records for women should be accepted if they are set in women-only races.

It was thought the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Association of International Marathons (AIM) would endorse the initiative.

That endorsement has not been forthcoming but the issue of which record should be accepted has been made clearer by Radcliffe’s performances in her first marathons.

Six months before setting her world record in Chicago, Radcliffe won the London Marathon in 2::18:56.00, the fastest women-only race.

Bedford added: “If Paula thought she could run even faster and would have a better chance going with the men, then we would seriously consider making it a mixed race.

“If the IAAF don’t care, how long should one race go on fighting on this issue' We’ve never said a world record set in a mixed race has no merit.”

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