17 MAR 2011 General News Manchester, UK

Radcliffe's return set for Manchester 10Km

Paula Radcliffe winning the 2008 Bupa Great South Run (Great Run/Peter Langdown)Paula Radcliffe winning the 2008 Bupa Great South Run (Great Run/Peter Langdown) © Copyright
World Marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, who has not competed for 15 months, will return to action in the Bupa Great Manchester Run, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday 15 May.

Her eagerly awaited return to competition comes after she took time out to prepare for the birth of her second child Raphael, born last September in Monaco.

Since then the 37-year-old, whose daughter Isla was born in January 2007, gradually recommenced training, and her target is now to win the 2012 Olympic marathon on home soil in London.

Radcliffe, whose last appearance was in the 2009 New York City Marathon, has been undergoing a much higher quality training camp at high altitude in Albuquerque, New Mexico since mid-January.

Her major task this year will be achieving the qualifying standard for the London Olympics and she is expected to contest an autumn marathon to achieve that time.

"Clearly she will need build up races beforehand and the Bupa Great Manchester Run over 10 kilometres offers a perfect step in that direction," said Andy Caine, the event's elite athlete’s manager.

Radcliffe is currently the World Road Running 10 kilometres record holder with a time of 30:21, set eight years ago in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while the Bupa Great Manchester Run course record of 31:07 was achieved by Berhane Adere of Ethiopia in 2007.

Caine added: "I've been speaking to Paula, plus her lead coach and husband Gary Lough, since before Christmas about her racing in Manchester, where of course she won the Commonwealth Games 5000 metres gold medal in 2002.

"Quite rightly they preferred not to make any premature decision about her 2011 racing schedule until they analysed how training was progressing in Albuquerque and obviously it has been a very good spell."

Radcliffe, who will return to Europe early next month, said: "It will great to get back to racing after such a lengthy period away and I'm excited, particularly as it is finally happening on home soil.

"The Bupa Great Manchester Run is a high profile event on the world road running circuit and I'm sure it will be a testing comeback for me, having seen the list of high profile past winners.

"I deliberately returned slowly to training after Raphael was born and everything, apart from being bitten by a dog whilst out training in Monaco at the beginning of the year, has gone pretty well.

"Starting my comeback with a 10km race is ideal as I build up later in the year to achieving the Marathon standard, and I'm confident of what I have to achieve in the build up to London 2012."

Radcliffe, who also hasn't ruled out competing on the track at this summer's IAAF World Championships, added: "Of course I have fond memories of Manchester where I won the Commonwealth 5000m gold medal.

"At the time it was a British record and I will never forget the buzz from the crowd in the stadium on what was a marvelous day. It will be great to return."

Organisers for the IAAF