On This Day in 2003: Paula Radcliffe smashes marathon world record

Paula Radcliffe smashed the women’s world marathon record with a successful defence of her London Marathon title on this day in 2003.

Radcliffe became the first woman to run under two hours 16 minutes with a new record time of two hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds, beating the record she had set when winning the Chicago Marathon six months earlier.

The 29-year-old was also the first Briton over the finishing line in the mixed sex event that used male pacemakers.

Paula Radcliffe after winning the London Marathon in 2003
Paula Radcliffe after winning the London Marathon in 2003 (Rebecca Naden/PA)

“I suffered some stomach cramps in the last five or six miles but that has happened before – it was only my body telling me I was hurting it,” Radcliffe said.

“The last two miles was particularly hard, but when we turned out of the wind at Big Ben it got easier.”

Radcliffe held the women only and mixed sex world marathon records until 2017 and 2019 respectively when she was eclipsed in both categories by Brigid Kosgei of Kenya.