Paula Radcliffe has been forced to pull out of this year's Flora London Marathon because of a broken toe.
The world marathon record holder, who was aiming to win her fourth Flora London Marathon title on Sunday 26th April, sustained the injury to her right second toe, caused while altitude training at her base in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Tuesday this week. An earlier issue with a ganglion on the same foot had been resolved and the medical opinion is that this caused the foot mechanics to alter.
�"I am desperately disappointed that I have to pull out of this year's race," said Radcliffe, who was London Marathon champion in 2002, 2003 and 2005. �"Especially as I was looking forward to running in front of the amazing crowds of spectators in London that always offer such great support.
"I am considering surgery to get myself totally healthy as soon as physically possible and ultimately prevent the bunion causing any future problems."
Although the 2005 world marathon champion admits the injury is a blow to her plans. She will reassess her future plans once free from injury.
Commenting on Radcliffe's withdrawal from this year's race, Flora London Marathon race director Dave Bedford said: �"This is a major blow for Paula. I know how much she wanted to run here this year but luck just does not seem to be on her side.
Paula's priority must now be to get fully fit hopefully for the World Championships and we wish her all the best for a speedy recovery.
Even without Paula, however, the elite women's field for 26th April is still one of the strongest we've ever had in London and I am sure the race will be a superb spectacle."
The women's field includes the defending champion and World Marathon Majors winner, Irina Mikitenko of Germany, the Olympic champion, Constantina Dita of Romania, world champion and Olympic Silver medallist Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, China's Olympic bronze medallist and 2007 Flora London Marathon champion Zhou Chunxiu, plus the double Chicago champion and Ethiopian record holder Berhane Adere.
There's also Adere's compatriot Gete Wami, the 2007 World Marathon Majors champion who was third last year, the veteran Russian Svetlana Zakharova, who was second in 2008, and her compatriot Lyudmila Petrova.
Three of the elite line-up have run quicker than 2 hours 20 minutes and eight have run a marathon faster than 2:22.
There is still considerable British interest too with Mara Yamauchi, sixth in the Olympic Games, seeking her first place on the London podium.
The following is a full list of entrants for the elite women's race and their personal best times:
Irina Mikitenko GER 2:19:19
Catherine Ndereba KEN 2:18:47
Zhou Chunxiu CHN 2:19:51
Berhane Adere ETH 2:20:42
Lyudmila Petrova RUS 2:21:29
Constantina Dita ROM 2:21:30
Svetlana Zakharova RUS 2:21:31
Gete Wami ETH 2:21:34
Yuri Kano JPN 2.24.27
Tomo Morimoto JPN 2.24.33
Mara Yamauchi GBR 2:25:03
Martha Komu KEN 2:25:33
Mika Okunaga JPN 2.27.52
Kirsten Melkevik Otterbu NOR 2:29:12
Inga Abitova RUS 2:33:55
Kate O'Neill USA 2:34:04
Liliya Shobukhova RUS Debut
Jo Pavey GBR Debut
For more information contact the Flora London Marathon Press Office:
Nicola Okey: 0207 902 0182; 07799 661345; email@example.com
Natasha Grainger: 0207 902 0199; firstname.lastname@example.org