London Marathon champion undaunted by return of Paula Radcliffe

• 'I respect her but I don't fear her,' says Liliya Shobukhova
• Russian relishing prospect of racing Briton over 26 miles

Liliya Shobukhova, the defending London Marathon champion, says she does not fear the return of Paula Radcliffe.

Russia's 33-year-old world No1, who won the London and Chicago marathons last year to claim the World Marathon Majors crown, has faced Radcliffe only once, in a 5,000 metres race in 2004, but says she is not concerned at the prospect of competing against the Briton for the Olympic marathon title in 2012. "I respect her but I don't fear her," Shobukhova said of the world record holder, whose personal best is five minutes faster than her own 2hr 20min 25sec. "I ran with her in the 5,000m before, in the European Cup in Bydgoszcz [Poland] in 2004. Paula was No1, I was No2."

That day Radcliffe posted a new British record but Shobukhova says she is more interested in competing against the Briton over the longer distance. "I would love to run against her in a marathon," she said.

That possibility is not entirely out of the question. Both athletes plan to run an autumn marathon and both have earmarked either Chicago or Berlin as their preference, although with Shobukhova a two-times defending champion in the windy city it is more likely that she would choose the transatlantic option.

The two could meet before then in a 10km road race. After having her second child, Radcliffe is due to make her competitive comeback at the Great Manchester Run in May. Shobukhova may compete in that race."She's still thinking about Manchester. We're thinking about two races after London – the New York mini-10k and Manchester. We're negotiating with Manchester, put it that way."

Shobukhova has only one 10km road race under her belt – an event in which she posted a time of 32min 19sec, whereas Radcliffe's best is 30min 21sec, which she ran is 30:21 when she broke the world record in 2003. Could racing against Radcliffe in Manchester – and winning – give Shobukhova a psychological advantage going into 2012? She shakes her head. "Paula is great runner but it's a race. You can win you can lose. It doesn't matter who is in the race. She is the same as any runner coming to the starting line."

Famed for her sprint finish – last year in London she finished 13sec ahead of second place – Shobukhova laughed at the suggestion that her speed could undo Radcliffe. "If Paula runs 2:15 or 2:17 it will be hard to be with her at the finish line. I don't know what my speed would be like then."

Shobukhova faces stiff competition in defending her title on Sunday as she takes on former London Marathon winners Irina Mikitenko and Zhou Chunxiu.


Anna Kessel

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Paula Radcliffe will not compete in London Marathon

Paula Radcliffe has confirmed she will miss the London Marathon for the fifth consecutive year since winning it in 2005

Anna Kessel

08, Apr, 2010 @9:00 PM

Article image
Paula Radcliffe deserves rousing send-off in 2015 London Marathon
One of the greatest female distance runners in history has the final race of her competitive career; #thankyoupaula is least she has earned

Sean Ingle

19, Apr, 2015 @3:28 PM

Article image
Paula Radcliffe in training for her swansong in 2015 London Marathon

The world mararthon record holder, Paula Radcliffe, has resumed trained after injury and is aiming to compete in the 2015 London Marathon

Sean Ingle

02, Feb, 2014 @11:05 PM

Article image
Paula Radcliffe defiant on doping doubts and ready for London Marathon
The female marathon world record holder is pleased to be running again, albeit not at an elite level, and says doubts of her achievements are ‘horrible’

Sean Ingle

20, Jan, 2015 @10:00 PM

Article image
Paula Radcliffe reveals how close she was to missing London Marathon finale
Paula Radcliffe has revealed just how close she came to missing her London Marathon farewell on Sunday because of an achilles injury and longstanding problem with her left foot that flared up while training in Kenya in February

Sean Ingle

22, Apr, 2015 @5:56 PM

Article image
Paula Radcliffe ends her long and winding road at the London Marathon | Sean Ingle
Paula Radcliffe, Britain’s greatest woman distance athlete, makes capital out of being a fun runner as she takes her final bow at the London Marathon

Sean Ingle

26, Apr, 2015 @8:59 PM

Athletics: Paula Radcliffe out of London Marathon after breaking toe

Paula Radcliffe will miss the London Marathon and is in doubt for this summer's World Championships after breaking a toe in training

Anna Kessel

05, Mar, 2009 @8:52 PM

Article image
Paula Radcliffe predicts marathon classic and sees threat to her record
Paula Radcliffe, who has held the women’s world marathon record for 15 years, thinks one of Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba may break it at the London Marathon

Sean Ingle

20, Apr, 2018 @9:26 PM

Article image
London Marathon: Olympic champion Constantina Dita advises Paula Radcliffe to cut the mileage for 2012
Main British hope Mara Yamauchi said she is looking to 'take a chunk' off her personal best in Sunday's London Marathon

Anna Kessel

23, Apr, 2009 @11:05 PM

Article image
Paula Radcliffe: ‘It’s still a special day. I’ll be doing this marathon for me’
The marathon world-record holder has finally overcome a debilitating foot injury and will allow herself to drink in the memories – good and bad – with the elite club runners in her last meaningful tilt at the London circuit

Donald McRae

20, Apr, 2015 @10:19 AM