Paula Radcliffe of England has shattered her own world record at the London Marathon,completing the 42-kilometer race in two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds. Her time Sunday was 1:53 faster than the old world record she set at the Chicago marathon last October. The 29-year-old pulled clear of the field from the start, as she followed two male Kenyan pace setters hired by race officials. Radcliffe's incredible time lowered the women's mark to within 10 minutes of the men's record of 2:05:38, set by Khalid Kahannouchi of the United States last year in London. Second place went to former record-holder Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, more than four minutes behind the winner, in 2:19:54. American Deena Drossin was third, almost six minutes off the winning pace, at 2:21:16. But her time was good enough to break Joan Benoit's American women's record by five seconds.
The men's race went to defending Olympic and world champion Gezahegne Abera of Ethiopia in a sprint finish with second-place finisher Stefano Baldini of Italy. Both men were credited with a time of 2:07:56. Joseph Ngolepus of Kenya was third, one second back. The race was run under perfect conditions with light winds. The women's marathon mark has now been broken four times in the last two-and-a-half years, and six times in the last five years.