Paula Radcliffe

The lovely Paula Radcliffe is a world record holder for the London Marathon, with a long list of achievements within marathon and cross country running.  Today she competes for the last time in the London Marathon, and says farewell to her fond fans.

Her Birthchart

Working without a birth time has been very revealing.  I will of course update this blog if a birth time comes to light in the future.

She has had her struggles, her ups and downs, but overall she has a strong birthchart.  She is a Sagittarian, with the North Node, Mercury and Neptune also in that sporty sign.  5 out of her 10 planets are in Cardinal signs, so she is a Leader, and 5 out of her 10 planets are in Air, the running element.  Her Sun conjuncts the North Node, so her karmic mission is as a leader in her field.

Venus makes an exact trine with Pluto in her chart, which gives her a lot of fortitude, and this trine plays an interesting role in her life and her transits, as we shall see.

But the planet which seems most prominent by aspect, and which the Astrologer Michel Gauquelin identified as strong in athletes, is Mars.  It trines her North Node exactly, it trines her Sun (great vitality and sporting energy), it sextiles her Saturn (conscious pacing of energy), and opposes her Uranus (an electrical quality to her energy).

The Part of Fortune is in her 10th House (the only House placing we know of for her), which indicates joy in her career.

Her Moon conjuncts Pluto: “I get emotional very easily” and trines Venus, giving her emotional warmth.  We get emotional with her.

Mercury sextiles Jupiter so she covers a lot of ground in her life!  Mercury also conjuncts Neptune, which may be responsible for her health weakness, and galvanizes her war on drugs.

Saturn is on her South Node in Gemini – she will have had past lives as a runner, developing discipline.


Paula’s father Peter Radcliffe was a Marathon runner, and her great aunt Charlotte Radcliffe was an Olympic silver medallist in swimming.  Did she perhaps inherit anything from her aunt, at least astrologically?  There is an important link between their charts, in an exact opposition between their Mars planets.  This is a direct energetic connection, and a complementary one: their energies will have been equal and opposite.

Paula has been running since she was 7 years old, but a seminal moment took place when she was 11.  Her father was taking part in the London Marathon, and she watched as the Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen smashed the world record. ‘It broke down any barriers I had in my head,’ says Paula Radcliffe. ‘I thought: why can’t I be in there running and being competitive too?’  At the time, her progressed Sun exactly squared her natal Pluto, a time when a mindset can be overturned.  The dramatic effect of Kristiansen on her life story is shown in their synastry by Kristiansen’s Uranus squaring Radcliffe Mars, and Kristiansen’s Pluto sextiling Radcliffe’s Uranus.

Her choice of subjects at the University of Loughborough was very Sagittarian: Modern European Studies.


Over the years, Paula has sustained many injuries which have kept her away from competitions at times.  But from childhood she suffered from asthma (Mercury conjunct Neptune) and also anaemia (possibly Uranus opposing her Mars, though she has a strong Mars generally).  It is possible that a birth time would elucidate this point.

Her particular health sensitivities and sense of justice probably led to her prominent campaign against the use of drugs in her sport (Mercury conjunct Neptune, with Neptune representing drugs).

High Pain Threshold

But there is no doubt that she also has had extreme resilience at the same time.  Sean Ingle, in yesterday’s profile in the Guardian writes:

“What made her so special? Not only genes and a Stakhanovite zeal for work, but a staggering tolerance of pain.  Physiotherapist Gerard Hartmann, who has worked with 73 Olympic medal winners, says only Keith Wood, the Irish rugby union player, could take more pain on the massage table than Radcliffe.”

Her exact trine between Venus and Pluto has much to do with this quality, as I associate it with extreme endurance in a chart.  But the aspects she shares with Keith Wood, are Sun conjunct North Node [in Sagittarius for Paula, Aquarius for Wood] and Mars opposite Uranus, which may also play a part.


We all remember the heartbreaking times, but the astrology of her successes is interesting.  She seems to respond well to exact positive astrological aspects too her chart!  I find this interesting, because all the points of success I looked at showed up the sort of transits I look for when I am researching my summer Wimbledon blogs.  Quite often I find mixed aspects, which are difficult to evaluate, but in every success I looked at for Paula she had really positive transits to her chart, often involving either a Jupiter transit or a transit to her Jupiter (which is her ruling planet).

Here are some examples:

When she won the World Cross Country title in 2001, transiting Jupiter in Gemini (the sign for Running) was exactly trine her natal Venus and Pluto, creating a Grand Trine with her natal trine.

Her first Marathon victory in London 2002 coincided with transiting Saturn trine exactly her natal Jupiter, and Uranus exactly sextile her natal Mars.

Later that year her natal Venus-Pluto exact trine was again activated when she won the Chicago Marathon:  Neptune was transiting Paula’s natal Venus in Aquarius and trine her natal Pluto.

In  2003 she broke the record for the women’s road 10k in Puerto Rico, with Neptune exactly transiting her natal Jupiter in Aquarius.

At Helsinki in 2005 she won a gold medal at the World Championships for the marathon, with Neptune exactly sextile her natal Chiron in Aries.

Then in the New York City Marathon in 2007 she won again, with Pluto exactly trine her natal Mars and sextile her natal Uranus.

Her golden period lasted until 2008, which was halted by a stress fracture of the femur, a Sagittarian body part.

Now with Jupiter exactly trine her natal Mercury, she is doing a farewell run in the London Marathon, and though she does not expect to be in the forefront of the crowd, she should be on good form and will enjoy her day.


She is married to Gary Lough, who she met at a Loughborough pub, and they have two children, Isla and Raphael.  Gary himself was a runner, and Isla is a promising gymnast.  Gary also doubles up as her coach, and house husband.

I think the nation was shocked when many years ago in Edmonton he reprimanded her at a race, giving the impression of being a harsh taskmaster.

In an interview in 2012 with the London Evening Standard, she said:

“But I definitely wouldn’t have got as far as I have without Gary…Gary understands what makes me tick and wants to support me as much as he can to achieve that.”

Without having a birth date for her husband, the astrology seems to bear out what she says.  Her strongly positively aspected male planets indicate that in her life she would be supported well by her father and her husband: Sun trine Mars, conjunct the North Node and sextile Uranus, plus Mars sextile Saturn and exactly trine the North Node.

Paula has been an exceptional role model for women in sport, inspiring as she herself was inspired by Ingrid Kristiansen.  When I saw her at the start of the race this morning, she was smiling infectiously!

This whole blog has taken me 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Phew!  I have been up against my own record ;-}


It’s a fine day astrologically for the London Marathon, though the weather doesn’t look entirely comfortable – Paula Radcliffe started out with a few layers, which she could shed and toss to the crowd.  Venus sextiles Uranus providing love and companionship, speed and excitement – all good ingredients for a good day’s running, watching, and raising money for sponsorship.  If you are planning more leisurely pursuits, a good time can be had by all.  This aspect particularly supports originality in the Arts and in Design.

On Tuesday (28th) Mars sextiles Chiron, which is suitable for energy healing and physical healing.  This aspect supports real interaction between people, engaging on a deep level and perhaps at the same time addressing and acknowledging wounds in a constructive way.

There could be an initial blip on Wednesday (29th) with Venus squaring Chiron: a little too much dwelling on the wound, and some stuckness.  But as the day progresses the prospects may improve, and by the end of the day the Sun sextiles Neptune, so there is a possibility of coming to terms with what is, at least, if not rising above the issue, and a sense of spiritual transcendence (the highest potential of this aspect).

Finally, on Friday (1st May) Mercury leaves the leisurely pastures of Taurus, moving to the much more mentally stimulating airs of Gemini.  Communication will be more sprightly, minds wake up, and a little light exercise may not go amiss.  Perhaps start your training for next year’s London Marathon? Alternatively, the mental gymnastics of Sudoku, or trying to work out what will happen after a hung parliament (which keeps me awake at night).  All to keep our minds in tip top condition.

Next Week -: UK General Election: Pulling it all together

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – social excitement
  • Tuesday – energetic healing
  • Wednesday – emotional delicacy, then spiritual uplift
  • Friday – mental stimulation