Paula texted to say I had replaced her in marathon, reveals shocked Murray
21:30 GMT, 30 July 2012
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Freya Murray found out she might be replacing a legend in the Olympic marathon when she was doing her weekly supermarket shop.
The news came in a text from the legend herself — Paula Radcliffe.
It was followed by a phone call from Radcliffe to explain the scale of the problem she was facing with her foot and how unlikely it was that she would be able to compete.
Surprise chance: Freya Murray will run in the marathon in place of the injured Paula Radcliffe
Murray said: ‘I didn’t want to get carried away in case it didn’t happen. I didn’t think, “Oh, I’m definitely going”, just that there was a possibility.’
The next day she went to work as a structural engineer in Newcastle as if nothing had happened but on Sunday— after it was confirmed when the IAAF accepted Britain’s application for a late change of runner — Murray had to ask for time off.
‘My boss has been very understanding,’ she said.
So has Radcliffe.
Agony: Radcliffe is consoled by husband Gary Lough in the Bird's Nest four years ago
‘It must have been a very difficult telephone call for her to make,’ said Murray. ‘I feel for her. I’m totally gutted for her and can only imagine how she must be feeling. It must be horrible for her.’
Murray, 28, is from Edinburgh and ran her first marathon in London in April.
Her time, more than 15 minutes slower than Radcliffe’s world record, fulfilled Britain’s selection criteria but she missed out on a place for the Olympic marathon to Claire Hallissey who finished ahead of her.
Valiant: Radcliffe finished third in last year's London Marathon
‘I would love to go quicker than I did in April and I think I am capable.
‘It’s been a very exciting couple of days, just letting it all sink in. I’ve never had so many text and Facebook messages.
‘I’m aiming to enjoy the experience and run very well on Sunday.’