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Tulu support fails to push Radcliffe to marathon win

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Not even encouragement from eventual winner Derartu Tulu could help Paula Radcliffe overcome a leg injury and take a third consecutive New York marathon title on Sunday.

Paula Radcliffe of Britain (C) is helped by Derartu Tulu from Ethiopia (L), the winner of the women's division of New York City Marathon 2009, and Mary Wittenberg, New York Road Runners CEO and President, after crossing the finish line of the marathon November 1, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Race favourite Radcliffe limped across the line in fourth behind Ethiopian Tulu, Russian Ludmila Petrova and Christelle Daunay of France after setting the pace for much of the race.

“She ran alongside me and was like, come on, come on. We can do it, we can do it,” a disappointed Radcliffe told reporters.

“Even when the girls took off she kind of waited with me a bit. But that’s Derartu, She’s always been like that.”

Radcliffe said she had hoped a niggling injury to her left hamstring suffered during training would hold out but the world record holder clutched her knee as she finished in a time of two hours 29 minutes 27 seconds, some 35 seconds behind Tulu.

“It was really sore. I couldn’t hardly pick up my leg,” the 35-year-old said, later adding that she did not think age had caused her injuries this year.

“I’ve had some bad luck this year, but I don’t think it is because I am older.”

The Briton had surgery to remove a bunion from her right foot in March.

She won the New York half-marathon in August but a week later decided to withdraw from the marathon at the world championships in Berlin due to a lack of preparation.

Radcliffe pulled out of the world half-marathon championships in England last month with tonsillitis before suffering a twinge in her hamstring two weeks ago in training.

“I didn’t want to say too much about it because I didn’t want people to know that they could maybe run away from me if it started to go,” she said.

Editing by Alison Wildey, To query or comment on this story email