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Paula Radcliffe reveals she tore her colon while smashing marathon world record in 2002

Paula Radcliffe crosses the line in Chicago 16 years ago. CREDIT: REUTERS
Paula Radcliffe crosses the line in Chicago 16 years ago. CREDIT: REUTERS

Ben Rumsby

Paula Radcliffe has revealed she tore her colon while breaking the marathon world record.

The British star became the fastest woman ever of the distance during the Chicago Marathon in October 2002, smashing the previous mark by a minute and a half with a time of two hours, 17 minutes and 18 seconds.

She topped that feat at the following April’s London Marathon, which she finished in 2:15.25, a record that stands to this day.

Speaking about the Chicago race, Radcliffe told BBC Radio 5 Live’s ‘At Home with Colin Murray’ podcast: “I, basically – and it’s pretty gross – had taken off the lining of the last part of my colon.

“Because of the bouncing up and down, and the running, the running hard, the blood supply isn’t going as much to there. The minute you stop, the blood supply does come back. So that didn’t feel very nice.”

The 44-year-old, who retired almost three years ago, also discussed the impact of long-distance running on her body.

Stating she had titanium screws in her foot, she said: “My foot is buggered basically. It’s not in a good state at all, but it’s gradually getting better and I can run on it every day.

“It’s osteoarthritic, it doesn’t look pretty and it’s got a big bump on it where the bone graft kind of formed itself but if I run on soft surfaces I can run every day.

“If you see me coming down the stairs in the morning, my foot is a complete cripple, but the rest of me is not too bad, I think.”

Radcliffe said physiotherapist Gerard Hartmann used to put his thumbs in ice after treating her with deep tissue massages.

She added: “I just needed to turn off my pain receptors to get through that and go to my happy place.

“In fairness, I actually don’t feel the pain so I wasn’t being particularly brave either. My pain threshold is quite high.”

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