9 MAY 2007

For all Paula Radcliffe's sporting achievements, there is one event that has eclipsed any marathon win - the birth of her daughter Isla. Holding the three-month-old baby to show her off for the cameras recently, the athlete was literally glowing with happiness and clearly loving her new role as a mum.

"She is my greatest achievement without a doubt," the runner told the Daily Mail. "I used to say important (races) don't give you a big high, more a sense of complete satisfaction. Multiply that by 100, and that's how I feel."

Isla arrived after a 27-hour labour at the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco, where Paula and her husband and manager, Gary have been based since 2004. Although the sportswoman recovered from the birth surprisingly quickly, an injury to her spine during a training session shortly afterwards has put her out of action for the time being.

As she awaits the results of a scan to see whether she can compete at the World Championships in Japan this summer, the 33-year-old is philosophical about the setback. "Before, I would have got down about an injury like this one," she says. "But now I'm not just thinking about myself. Pregnancy may have caused it, but it's worth it. I'm prepared to accept this for her, as Isla comes first now."

Photo: ©
The Olympic gold medallist is revelling in her new role as the mother of three-month-old baby IslaPhoto: © RexClick on photo to enlarge
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