Poor old Brendan Foster. He clearly can’t do crisis commentary. Expecting another chance to eulogise about “our” Paula, he was clearly confused about her breakdown at the 36k point. Somehow, the race just wasn’t fair. “This race doesn’t show who is the best marathon runner in the world,” he spluttered, “it just shows who is best on this day in these conditions.” Er, yes, that’s the point. Otherwise, we would just give Paula the gold for turning up with the world record. <br /><br />Foster went on and on about how vicious the course was. Would he have complained if Radcliffe had won? To use another cliche, it’s the same course for everyone. If Paula couldn’t cut it in the heat, then bad luck. Actually, it’s nothing to do with luck. The marathon wasn’t supposed to be easy. We could put all the runners on a treadmill in a nice air-conditioned room and see who does the distance fastest. Is that what Foster wants?<br /><br />After the event, Foster seemed very confused. “No one deserves gold. All these women deserve gold,” he said to Sue Barker, who looked remarkably calm in the face of this nonsense. Actually, Brendan, the winner deserved gold. Everyone else deserves our admiration. Clearly what he wanted to say was that Paula Radcliffe deserved the gold. But she didn’t. She couldn’t finish, and it speaks volumes about her mental state.<br /><br />Also worrying was Fosters thinly veiled racism in the face of the Japanese winner, Noguchi. Clearly peturbed by the fact that another Japanese runner, Takahashi, won in Sydney, Foster blatantly didn’t want her to win, and seemed delighted as her running became a little wobbly towards the end.<br /><br />p.s. Kenza Wahbi of Morocco had to stop to throw up, but still finished the race in 30th. Just behind Tracey Morris, who only took up running seriously last year. Perhaps Paula should remember – it’s not just the winning, it’s also the taking part. In this case, finishing the bloody race.<br /><br />Another note on some comments made in the aftermath: London race director David Bedford said last night: “She is still the greatest women’s distance runner ever.” No, she isn’t. Where are the medals? Tactless fool.<br /><br />Steve Cram: “She isn’t a quitter but she was visibly struggling.” Hmm. Looks like she quit to me.
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