A tearful Paula Radcliffe insisted she would have walked all the way to the marathon finish line if necessary after her quest for an elusive Olympic medal ended in pain again in 2008.
Radcliffe’s brave bid faltered after halfway when she was struck by cramp in her calves as her disrupted preparations caught up with her.
She was forced to stop to try to relieve the pain and there were fears she might pull out as she did in Athens four years earlier.
But she carried on to finish 23rd in a race which saw Romania’s Constantina Tomescu take the gold medal.
But just finishing was something of a triumph for Radcliffe, whose career was garnished with World, European and Commonwealth medals but nothing from the Olympics.
After sobbing on the shoulder of team-mate Liz Yelling, Radcliffe said: “I would have walked because it was something that was actually OK walking. I haven’t made the injury worse.”