Born: 17 / 12 / 1973 – Cheshire, UK
Events: Distance Track & Marathon
Biggest sporting accolade: 3 x London Marathon winner, 17 year Marathon World Record holder
As a part of British sporting royalty and athletics history, Paula’s legacy extends far beyond titles and world records. Having captured the hearts and minds of the nation and sport through the early part of the noughties Paula was, and remains, a trailblazer for women’s sport globally.
After graduating from Loughborough University, where she now has the track named after her, with a first-class degree in modern languages in 1996, she devoted herself full-time to her running and is now recognised as one of the finest athletes of the modern era.
She held the world record in the marathon for 17 years and won the coveted London Marathon in 2002, 2003 and 2005. In November 2004 she won the New York Marathon in breath-taking style and in 2005 she took the gold medal at the World Championships in Helsinki for the same distance. These achievements make her not only the most decorated British marathon runner of all time but also one of the world’s best.
As well as breaking her first world record in 2002 she was awarded an MBE that year and also won the public’s vote for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.
Whilst she continues to enjoy her running on a casual basis, Paula now focuses her attention on other areas of sport and her legacy. As a hallmark of the BBC commentary team she is a face, name and voice that continues to resonate within the sporting world. She is a UN Ambassador for Clean Air, a passionate advocate for young women’s access to sport and she continues to push for fairness in sport as a key member of the World Athletics Athlete Integrity Unit.