Monday, 16 April 2012

Paula Radcliffe - Fairy Dishes of Best Wishes

I was very lucky to have the opportunity to chat with a very inspirational lady this morning via Skype, world class runner Paula Radcliffe MBE. 

Since Paula qualified for the Olympics 2012 London marathon which is held on 5th August this year, there's a huge amount of pressure on her to do well. As a Mum of 2 young children, I especially admire her dedication to follow her dream and also juggle this with a hectic schedule to keep up with seeing her family and remain sane whilst doing so! 
As well as family life, Paula also talked to me about how important it is for her to have the support from a partner such as Fairy on her journey in the Olympics, she really emphasised how important it was for her or any athlete to get this kind of help (A host of P&G household brands have sponsored 11 top athletes including Paula for the 2012 London Olympic games).
Whilst Fairy are working closely with Paula, they have set up a campaign together called Fairy Dishes of Best Wishes. Part 1 of which was open to schools nationwide and they were invited to submit a design for a dish with a best wishes message for the Olympic athletes and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place schools picked won cash prizes. This has now closed however today (April 16th 2012), a new campaign opens to all to design a dish with a message of encouragement to the Olympic team. The five most voted for dishes will win a printed, framed copy of their design signed by Paula Radcliffe. You can find out more on Fairy's Facebook page, there's a really easy to use design app. which will give you no excuse not to submit an entry! This campaign closes on June 18th so get creative and find out more.

During my chat with Paula this morning, I asked: 

With her hectic schedule does she have a strict routine/diary to follow in order to fit in time with the family?

She told me that she has amazing support at home including her husband Gary and both her and Gary's parents who help with the kids. Their routine generally consists of the usual family stuff in the morning, busy busy as now Isla is at school they need to be out of the house for the school run and so it's breakfast and getting dressed and out. Then Gary may take Raphael (age 1yr) along the promenade for a walk (how lovely to live in Monaco and have the promenade on your doorstep!), whilst she heads for training in the morning. Paula then generally returns for lunch with Raphael, then she and the baby both have a nap, how disciplined! I'm very glad to hear she joins Raphael for a nap, she thoroughly deserves and must so need it.
Then when Isla is back from school they have family time and Paula will try to do some exercises at home however she said this generally means the kids climbing over her whilst she's on the floor excercising! Then once the kids are in bed she will go out again for training at night. Wow.

I asked Paula about what age she was when she started running and realised it was something she knew she loved?

She told me that she knew from a young age that she loved to run, she was 7yrs or so when she started to enjoy it and her parents would encourage her. However in the village she lived in, the running club started at age 9yrs so she couldn't join until then, and her passion went from there. She said her parents were massively supportive of her training when she was younger and allowing her to follow her dream. They would encourage her with healthy food and she's glad of that as it's all she's ever known. She says her children follow a similar healthy diet, they try all kinds of foods when they are travelling but generally the whole family have a very healthy diet. No mention of the words 'But I do love chocolate now and again' ever came out! How does she do it? She's just so dedicated to her lifestyle and her goal, it's so admirable. 

I talked to Paula about my love for cooking in particular baking and how my kids enjoy getting involved. I asked her about her favourite foods, if she cooks with the kids and about what she ideally eats the night before or morning of a race?

She said she really loves to eat fish, salmon she loves but most fish. Gary is allergic to scallops which she likes so she misses out on them! Isla (age 5yrs) loves to cook with her, they bake together, just easy cakes, and Isla loves to get involved in the washing up apparently! She loves the bubbles. Although Paula said there's more mess to clear up after Isla has 'washed up' than before she started! 
In regards to food before a race, a few days prior, she just really tries to stay safe with food, so she eats  grilled chicken and grilled salmon, as she doesn't want anything that will upset her stomach. She's lactose intolerant too and so she needs to be careful of all ingredients she's consuming especially at this crucial time before a race. On the morning of a race she likes to have porridge with water. She sometimes has it with banana and honey or with banana and chocolate. I'm very glad to hear her say the word 'chocolate'! Although I wish I could eat chocolate and say it's for my energy levels and get away with it like Paula!

I asked her about whether she gets any time to hang out with her family mates/girlfriends for shopping/catch ups?

She told me she loves obviously to do normal stuff like shopping but really the only chance she gets is shopping at airports. She keeps up with friends regularly through email and on the phone as they are also very supportive of her schedule.

I asked her about reading as I am part of a book club with my friends, I wondered if it was something she enjoyed if she had time? 

Yes she said she loves to read, she has a Kindle which she said is so handy because of all the travelling. She enjoys reading, it's one of her ways to unwind. She said her husband laughs when he gets all the notifications through from Amazon that she's been buying more books on her Kindle whilst she is away from home "Have you been buying more books on Amazon again!" she laughs.

What's coming up for her, next race, week ahead? 

This week's plan is for her to have more tests to check she is back to health since her Bronchitis illness prior to her Vienna race yesterday. Then some gentle training to ease her back into the serious training which begins next week in the Pyrenees, her family are joining her there. 

Amazing woman and very lovely to talk to her, so down to earth considering her amazing achievements! I wish her all the very best this year and am sure she will get masses of support across the UK for her race in August. 
Don't forget to find out more about the Fairy Dishes of Best Wishes competition that Paula is supporting at Fairy's Facebook page. Go on, show some love for our British athletes and put it down on a dish! 

This is a sponsored post.


  1. Wow cool! Although skping must of been weird?!

  2. Hi Claire, Yes it was very weird to be speaking to Paula whilst sat at my kitchen table! She was very lovely though.