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Paula Radcliffe is one of the most recognisable female marathon runners of the last 20 years and the London Marathon 2015 will be the last time she may participate in the event. At the age of 41, when she competes in this year’s London Marathon it will not be as a member of the elite athletes, rather she will run as part of the masses.

We are used to seeing Radcliffe dominating marathons as she has done for so long, and she still holds the World Record with a time of 2.15.25, which she set back in April 2003 during the London Marathon that year.

Paula Radcliffe joined her first athletics club at the age of 11 when she joined Bedford & County Athletics Club and by the age of 16 she competed at the World Cross Country Championships.

For her sporting achievements, Radcliffe was awarded an MBE in 2002, and was also awarded the BBC’s Sport Personality of the Year in 2002. Not only does Radcliffe hold the World record time, but she also has ran the three quickest times in history and since 2003 no woman has come within 2 minutes of her world record.

Radcliffe has inspired thousands and thousands of women all over the country. At the age of 14, Radcliffe developed asthma, condition that many people feel hampers sporting performance. However, Radcliffe and many other professional sportsmen and women have gone on to achieve their lifestyle regardless.

This has shown the world and the women of Britain that Asthma doesn’t need to stop them being able to keep fit and be able to jog on a daily basis. After she set that World Record in London in 2003, the sales of women’s running trainers and clothing rose severely and continued to do so for months afterwards. The equipment and trainers used by Radcliffe herself were sold out for months as her impact on the British public rose to a new level. Paula Radcliffe gave women a role model for distance running, creating a positive impact on the British population, resulting in a rise in jogging.

The legacy that Radcliffe will leave behind when she does retire will continue to inspire both adults and children to take up running as a hobby, or join an athletics club and be able to enjoy the benefits of running.

Image courtesy of Ramon Smits (Flickr: Marathon Berlijn 2011) [CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons