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Paula’s pit stop by Cassandra Davis

Following the third fantastic performance and win of Paula Radcliffe in the London Marathon, I was truly shocked to see how media attention and public focused on her 10 second nature pit stop.

Paula Pit StopCriticisms range from why didn’t she go to the toilet adequately before the race, to why didn’t she stop in one of the 930 portaloos along the way. Firstly, the poor girl was having cramps and losing seconds from a natural urge to relieve herself. Most people evidently don’t realize how fast 2h17 running is and how hard she must be concentrating to keep that pace. This would make looking for a well-placed toilet along the way extremely difficult and probably have caused her to lose more precious seconds. And, if she did aim for one of the provided toilets, what would she have done if it were occupied. Just opening the door would include wasting more time. To give her credit, she did squat behind an advertising board.

There were probably quite a lot of other runners who did the same during the London marathon and indeed many other big marathons, where not as many as 930 toilets are thoughtfully provided by the organizers. The only difference is that if your name is not Paula Radcliffe you don’t have the cameras following you every inch of the way to see these delightful human scenes which are all part of the marathon story.

In the Tour de France, the cyclists do it on their bikes, no qualms about it. Perhaps because they are males this is all the more acceptable. Indeed, when women go out running, toilet stops are often a big problem. But let’s face it, we are all human and when training for a marathon, during long runs nature does tend to call.

Personally on my regular running routes I have my favourite running stops which are well under cover. In winter long t-shirts and jackets provide further cover from any unwanted onlooker and in summer shorts can easily be pulled over to one side to provide discretion. In fact I have one particular favourite morning stop, where a nice big bush provides shelter and security. After using this spot regularly, one fresh autumnal morning I discovered that a large mushroom had appeared in that spot!

Further Articles by Cassandra under the Women’s section covering :

Who is Cassandra Davis head of the women’s section? | click here |


  1. […] Paula’s pit stop by Cassandra Davis is a post from: Time-to-Run Women […]

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