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The 5 most iconic runners of all time

  • We pick 5 of the most iconic running names, across distances.
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 17 Jun 2015, 16:48 IST

Paula Radcliffe

Radcliffe at the 2015 London Marathon, her final race before retirement.

Radcliffe is an icon in the running world, and rightly so. The British legend currently holds the world record in the women’s marathon, with a time of  2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds. She has participated in and won the world’s most well-known marathons, each of them several times: the London Marathon three times, in 2002, 2003 and 2005, the New York Marathon three times, and the Chicago Marathon.

Although Radcliffe has participated in four consecutive Olympic games, she has not won a medal at that stage. However, she has been the world champion across running disciplines: at marathon, half marathon, and cross country.

Radcliffe’s achievements are even more significant in light of the fact that she was born with asthma, which severely limits breathing capacity, and running being one of the most taxing sports on an athlete’s lungs and overall endurance. In addition to the asthma, Radcliffe has also had anaemia since she was a little girl. Despite this, she took up running, which a person suffering from asthma would likely not even consider.

Radcliffe won the 10,000 metres silver medal at the 1999 World Championships and was the 5000m champion at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Apart from her staggering athletics achievements, Radcliffe read French, German and Economics at University, and has a degree in Modern European Studies.

After racing in national events for 29 years, Radcliffe ended her illustrious running career at the 2015 London Marathon.

Haile Gebrselassie

Gebrselassie waves to crowds at the end of the 2014 Beirut Marathon

Gebrselassie is one of the most well-known names in running, and with good reason. The four-time World Champion in 10,000m makes seemingly easy work of winning marathon streaks – he has won the Berlin Marathon four years consecutively and the Dubai Marathon three years in a row. 

The Ethiopian legend is also the holder of four indoors running titles and has won the World Half Marathon, too. Gebrselassie currently holds 27 world records, and broke his own in 2008 at the Berlin Marathon. 35-years-old when he competed, he beat the world record, also his own personal best, by 27 seconds. 

One of ten siblings, Gebrselassie ran 10km to school and then back every day, holding his books.

It is from this daily journey through his childhood that he holds his distinctive running posture. 

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Published 17 Jun 2015, 09:56 IST
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