Paula Radcliffe lobbies IAAF in world record fight

By Matt SlaterSports news reporter

Paula Radcliffe has asked world athletics boss Lamine Diack to scrap plans to downgrade her marathon world record to "world best" status.

The Briton, 37, went to Monaco on Wednesday to lobby the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president in person.

In August, the IAAF decided to only recognise times from single-sex events as world records.

Her run of two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds therefore no longer counts.

She ran that time at the 2003 London Marathon, one of only two occasions when Radcliffe has run a marathon in a mixed field and she has always argued that she gained no advantage from the two male pacemakers she ran with.

The new rules on world records were decided at the IAAF Congress and come into effect on 1 January 2012. There will now be two lists for landmark times: world records and world bests.

Radcliffe felt Diack was "understanding" in their meeting and the matter is now under consideration.

There is no chance, however, of the IAAF ditching its two-list idea until the next congress in 2013.

"It felt that a little bit of my achievement that day, and how hard I worked for it, was being devalued - not just for me, for women all over," Radcliffe said.

"Everybody's area records and national records were just wiped out without any explanation or warning. I think that hit a lot of women.

"And it's a little bit harsh because it limits women's options for setting world records - the majority of road races are mixed.

"So it's not a case of winning because the rule has been set now, it's just a case of something being done about it going forward," she said.

Radcliffe, who has recorded four of the five fastest female marathon times in history, would still have the world record thanks to the 2:17.42 she ran in the women-only race at the 2005 London Marathon.

But at more than two minutes slower than her 2003 run, that time is considerably more vulnerable to being bettered - Kenya's Mary Jepkosgei Keitany was only 97 seconds slower at this year's London Marathon.

Radcliffe's attempt to have her time preserved in the record books has been backed by the organisers of the world's biggest marathons and a huge number of her fellow athletes.

Her main sponsor has also launched a 'HistoryStands' campaign on Twitter,external-link describing the IAAF's retrospective ruling as "unfair to those who competed and abided by the rules that were in place at the time".

Last month in Berlin, Radcliffe made her marathon comeback after a two-year break to have her second child.

She finished third in a time of 2:23.46, which was comfortably inside the qualifying time for a place at next year's London Olympics.

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