Radcliffe returns for NY marathon

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Britain's Paula Radcliffe will make her first-ever appearance in the New York Marathon.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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New York:

Final preparations were underway on Thursday, as the ING New York City Marathon looks forward to its 35th running on Sunday. New York City's Central Park seemed a runners paradise, as athletes from around the world took time to acclimatise to the city streets. But drawing the most attention on a day on which some of the top runners in the world were introduced to the media, was Britain's Paula Radcliffe, who came into the race as a late entry less than a fortnight ago. As the world record holder in the event, it's no wonder the 31-year-old Radcliffe would garner special attention. Moreover, however, this will be her first marathon since she dropped out of the Olympic marathon in Athens, where she had been the favourite. Painful experience Radcliffe concedes that her experience in Athens is still painful to think about, but is intent on forging ahead. "I mean it's something that it's happened now, it's in the past, I've got to live with it, and I've got to get on with it and move on. Nothing is going to make up for it. But at the same point, it's not going to ruin the rest of my life either. I'm just going to move on, and there's going to be lots of other victories in the future," said Radcliffe. She hopes a victory in New York can help ease the pain a little. "Oh definitely it would help to end the season on a positive note, which is the way I always like to do it if possible. It would never quite make up for what happened, but it is definitely a great place to start moving on, and even regardless of anything that happened, a win in New York is special, whatever," said the runner. Bounce back Race Director Allan Steinfeld feels that New York will provide a perfect setting for Radcliffe to bounce back after her disappointment. "For Paula to win here, it would be extremely important to her and to us, because the world will know about it. To win in another place, outside of London because it's her home thing, the world might not know," said Steinfeld. This year's women's field is being touted as one of the greatest ever, with a defending champion, past champions, world champions, and 2004 Olympic medallists. Competitive field Most welcomed the late addition of the current world record holder. "Yeah she's strong, she has the world-record at 2:15 (two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds - set in 2003 London Marathon). I'm happy for her to come here, to run together, so we can see if we can make it or not," said Ludmilla Petrova, 2000 New York Marathon champion. Paula is delighted with the competitive field, which she says has the feel of an Olympic field, and thinks the top runners will bring out the best in each other. "Yeah, it's a really strong field, and that's really good. I mean, it is exciting, I think it brings out the best in everybody, and hopefully we can all get out there and have a really good race," said Radcliffe. For setting the world records in both the marathon and 10 kilometres last year, Radcliffe was presented with the 2003 AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Road Races) Athlete of the Year Award. AIMS represents an association of 2000 race organisers around the world. (AP)