Today sees the launch of Fairy Dishes for Best Wishes a campaign fronted by world class athlete and many times marathon winner Paula Radcliffe MBE. The campaign, which you can take part in via their Facebook page, is all about encouraging and supporting our favourite athletes and teams competing in London 2012.
Paula has inspired a whole generation of female runners and is a personal hero of mine so I was thrilled to get to chat briefly with her this morning about how important support is to athletes and other things...
This is a campaign and competition set up to send messages of support for our athletes Paula, who has been your greatest supporter and why?
'Oh there've been so many over the years but I have to say my family first and foremost starting with my Grandma. She taught me the value of hard work and that if you give 100% every day to something you will achieve your goal. My parents followed on with this and continue to support me. My first coach Alex Stanton at Bedford was and still is an amazing support. He has travelled around all over the place with me though not as much in recent years as before.'
How important is family support to you and how has it changed over the years for you?
'It has changed and it hasn't changed really. The support given to me has just expanded to my husband and kids. My five year old joins in and runs alongside the track at certain points with my husband which is great.'
What does 'me' time look like for Paula Radcliffe?
'Any 'me time' is spent with the kids - absolutely, and comes before anything. Once they are in bed and if I have a spare moment I read a book but I love to spend time with my husband and the children and enjoy everything from playing on the beach to painting and taking the bikes out. Pretty normal mum stuff really.'
Only if it comes from them. Of course I will support my children in anything they want to do and will encourage them to enjoy and take part in sport, but they have to have a very real desire from within to take things to a serious competitive level and if this is what they truly want then I will support them all the way.
Who are your personal heroes?
'My Dad took me down to the London Marathon when I was a kid and I saw Ingrid Christianson from Norway - she was a real inspiration and probably my first inspiration. I also followed the amazing Greta Weitz also from Norway who won the London Marathon twice, New York Marathon nine times and won Olympic silver in 1984.She recently lost a hard battle with cancer which she fought to the end and refused to let it beat her. The same with Jane Tomlinson who was a great person and refused to the beaten, fighting it all the way and raising funds throughout her illness. Amazing women really.'
And because it is never far from my thoughts what are your favourite foods?
Paula laughs at this one ' I tend to eat the same foods when I'm training and when I'm resting to be honest. I have a passion for dark chocolate and eat this every day. I also grab handfuls of almonds and mixed nuts as I love them and can't get enough. I love sushi and fish in general...and every so often I relax with a glass of red wine.'
It was lovely to talk to Paula and to hear that someone who is so very far out of my league in terms of dedication is really quite normal!
Paula is a total star and deserves her MBE, now we can all pass on our best wishes and support to our amazing athletes like Paula and fabulous teams by taking part in the Fairy Dishes for Best Wishes competition. Simply visit the Facebook page, and by using the easy design application, create a dish design with words and pictures of encouragement and support to be entered into the 'Dishes of Best Wishes' competition.
The Fairy Dishes for Best Wishes competition is open for entry from Wednesday 18th April until Sunday 17th June with all eligible designed dishes available to view on the Dishes for Best Wishes gallery here.
The five most voted for dishes will win a printed, framed copy of their design signed by Paula Radcliffe so get online today and make sure our athletes feel the most supported and loved in the world!
Photograph of Paula from http://ukad.org.uk/ - UK's Anti-Doping organisation protecting the rights of UK athletes to compete in drug free sport.
This is a sponsored post.