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Paula: My Story So Far Paperback – 5 Sep 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; New edition edition (5 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074347869X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743478694
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Paula Radcliffe has been hailed as one of the finest female distance runners of all time. Her amazing run of record-breaking victories in 2002 and 2003, including smashing the women’s world marathon record in Chicago and then again in London, showed an athlete at the peak of her powers – and her popularity. Such was her dominance that a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens seemed almost a formality. But as the world watched, and a nation held its breath, that historic race ended for her on a dusty kerbside instead of the podium.

Athens showed in heartbreaking and dramatic fashion that, for Paula, success has been hard-won. She was the underdog for so long – narrowly missing out on medals at the 1999 World Championships and the 2000 Sydney Olympics – and fans longed to see her win. But Paula’s eternally rosy manner and palpable decency hide a tough resolve to succeed, and she has never allowed high-profile losses to dent her confidence. With the support and guidance of her husband, the former 1,500-metre runner Gary Lough, and coach Alex Stanton, she remodelled her training schedule and emerged triumphant, winning gold medals at both the Commonwealth and European championships and grabbing headlines which have brought Britain’s focus back to athletics.

Paula’s bravery is not limited to the track, however. She has won many admirers for her work for asthma research – inspired by her own conquering of the condition – and has also been an outspoken campaigner against drug cheats in her sport, wearing a red ribbon symbolising her readiness to be tested for banned substances at any time.

What has driven this ‘quintessential girl next door’ to achieve so much, and how does she deal with the weight of expectation that now accompanies her? And what really happened that hot Athens afternoon? Paula Radcliffe reveals the true story behind the triumphs and trials in the most eagerly anticipated sports autobiography of the year. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

PAULA RADCLIFFE was born in Northwich, Cheshire, in 1973, but grew up in Bedford. She joined Bedford & County Athletics Club at the age of eleven, and competed in the World Cross-Country Championships at sixteen. After graduating from Loughborough University with a first-class degree in modern languages in 1996 she devoted herself full-time to her running, and is now acknowledged as one of the finest athletes of the modern era.

As well as her medals at 5,000 and 10,000 metres Paula has now established herself as the master of the ultimate distance race, the marathon. In April 2002 she won the London Marathon in her first-ever race at that distance, setting a debut record, and six months later she smashed the world record by over a minute in Chicago. The London Marathon in April 2003 saw her defend her title and break her own record, again by over a minute, setting a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds.

She was awarded an MBE in June 2002, and later that year was voted the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. She lives in Loughborough with her husband and manager, Gary Lough. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By girl VINE VOICE on 13 Nov. 2004
Format: Hardcover
OK, I'll start by saying that I'm a runner myself and a fan of Paula's (although I'm not a die-hard, member-of-the-church-of-PR kinda fan).
I found it great to read about her childhood and her background as a runner - she really was the underdog for quite some time! Getting a (tiny) glimpse into her training schedule also interested me (for obvious reasons), and also the ice-baths, nutrition, etc. But she clearly adores running.
She seems to have suffered countless injuries. This is probably common in elite athletes, but reading about how often they get them makes you wonder how fit these people really are! I mean, these professional runners are plagued with injuries, while the average overweight middle-aged person manages just fine!
Paula also, obviously, talks in detail about Athens and how it all went wrong. It's pretty upsetting to read - but it was upsetting to watch, too.
She also has a great, not-too-detailing writing style.
I liked it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. G. A. Alavi on 22 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Paula Radcliffe is an amazing athlete, a great ambassador for the sport, and after reading this book a great person. The problem I have is with her writing style, it did not suit me as a reader. I wanted to give this book 3 1/2 stars, but because of the many positives I took away from her story, her trials and tribulations, I decided to round it up rather than down.

Paula is one those people who found early no what her passion in life is early on. Running. She also had the ability, means, and ambition to follow it. She worked very hard not only to get as good as she did in running but also to give herself options for life after running, or if she could not follow running as career.

The negitive I have about the book as I said is the writing style. Most chapters are about a year in review. She start with the main point of that year, usually the important race of that year or improvements of that year. She takes us almost up to the starting line, but then backtracks to earlier in the year, or fast forwards to the lessons she learned from this race or experience. I kept thinking I must have missed something till I kept reading and reailised this was just the way the book was written. This going back and forward and looping of the chapters I just found infuriating and harder to read.

The positives messages in the book do outweigh the negatives. The book is honest to a fault, in some cases even giving too much information. An example is in some chapters we even know the colour of her stools, and what to do if you need to go in the middle of a race. I completely agree with Paula's stance on bring more attention to the issue of drug cheats, and dopers. Though her moral high ground on playing dirty does not stretch to competing against her brother.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. I. Ogilvie on 4 April 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an autobiography covering Paula's life up to the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. The book is a broadly chronological account of her life moving at a good pace delivered in a conversational tone.

Being a runner myself it is always a pleasure to read about how people get into running and the immense pleasure and benefits running can have on your life.

The early chapters of how she got into running, the training and competition at grass roots level were real page turners.
What really came across for me was Paula's clarity in setting herself goals followed by the steely determination, physical and mental punishment through which she laboured in realising her ambitions.
Moving into her career at senior level, the book provides a detailed yet down to earth account of the fine line that an elite athlete treads between training the body to arrive at peak performance at the right time and the heartbreak/ immense frustration of injury.

Paula is clearly a top class athlete and will rest happy knowing that her story will inspire the next generation. Clearly her achievements deserve a five star rating. Why only three stars then?

I am reviewing her book not her achievements.

The editing of this book is not great, some chronological jumping in the middle chapters made this heavier going than it ought to have been. Also, following in the wake of the Athens Olympics this was Paula's opportunity to put her account across having suffered very publicly at the hands of media coverage and comment.
Whilst I do not subscribe to the "excuse after excuse" opinion some reviewers have, the opening chapter is pretty full on in delivering salvo after salvo of comment on Athens. Clearly necessary, and welcome, but possibly would have been more palatable and better received in its rightful chronological place after 300 pages of getting to know such a brave and endearing athlete.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Boof TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
Having realised that walking up my own house stairs had me almost passing out I decided to take up running (walking was a good start in my case) and within 6 months I completed my first 10K. Passing that finnish line I was the proudest and most elated I have ever been in my life and it was then that I realised what this "buzz" people kept talking about was. I felt amazing!

Not long after this I picked up Paula Radcliffe's autobiography and was hooked. I started reading and became in awe of someone who was so dedicated to her sport and who was so disciplined that while I was out getting lashed at every available opportunity while at Universtity, at the same time in another town Paula was working doggedly towards getting her 1st class degree while still managing to train religiously in the sport she loved. To me - someone who was brand new to running and who finds it very difficult - Paula became an inspiration.

I do, however, agree with some other reviews that the writing wasn't the greatest but then she is an athlete not an author, and I did notice that there were several explanations as to why she thought she hadn't run her best (I hesitate to say excuses as I have found myself saying things like "I didn't have a great run today, my legs felt heavy" etc) and I admit that this sometimes bacame repetitive.

I would still recommend this book highly though, as whether you're new to running like me or a seasoned racer the fact is that Paula Radcliffe is still one of the greatest athletes that this country has ever produced and regardless of her written word talents, this should surely be celebrated. She is an inspiration to many and rightly so. I enjoyed this book very much and it certainly spurred me on so thank you Paula.
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