By Tom Degun in London
August 7 - Paula Radcliffe (pictured) can expect to pass a number of familiar sights when she tries to finally win the Olympic medal that has so far eluded her during her career after London 2012 officials unveiled early details of a marathon course that could have been designed by tourist chiefs.
Like the annual London Marathon, the world's most prestigious race, the course for the 2012 Olympics will feature many of the capital's most recognisable landmarks.
The loop course, which must be approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) before it is finalised, will include St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Tower of London as just some of the iconic venues to look out for during the race in an event that will be organised by David Bedford and his team at the Virgin London Marathon.
Like the London Marathon, the races are expected to finish down The Mall, meaning that for the second time in three Olympics the race will not end in the main stadium.
The races in Athens in 2004 finished in the Panathenaic Stadium, the arena which hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896.
Athens was undoubtedly the lowpoint of Radcliffe's career as, entering the race the shortest-priced favourite in any event, she failed to finish due to a combination of injury and illness.
London is realistically her final opportunity to win the Olympic medal that she needs to cement her place as the greatest female distance runner in history.
The men’s and women’s marathons will be held on consecutive Sundays in order to minimise traffic disruption in the city although organisers have not yet confirmed which event will be held when.
Traditionally the men’s race has concluded the Games but organisers may decide to finish with a women’s marathon to give Radcliffe the opportunity to end London 2012 on a spectacular high for British fans on what would be her fifth consecutive appearance in the Olympics.
London 2012 Director of Sport Debbie Jevans said: "The marathons will loop the city with iconic landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament as a backdrop.
"They will be truly memorable events."
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