FEMALE runners from Widnes Wasps met a sporting icon while they were in Monaco to take part in an international 10k.

They bumped into Cheshire-born marathon world record holder and three times London Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe before the race, who wished them luck.

Seven club members had travelled to the principality, originally to take part in the Monaco Run Riviera Classic, a 14-mile race that was due to take runners through three countries, Italy, France and Monaco.

When that event was cancelled they signed up for the Monaco 10k instead.

Rachel Kuypers, from Widnes, said: “It was a long way to travel for a 10k but we’d already paid for our flights and booked our accommodation so we decided to go anyway.

"We had a fantastic weekend and meeting Paula was the icing on the cake.”

Radcliffe teamed up with another of athletics’ greats, Sebastian Coe, to finish third overall in the Monaco Run Herculis Relay, with Paula running 7km and Seb 3km in a combined time of 38.07.

Nicola Daley, of Prescot, added: “When we went over to her she saw our name and said ‘oh Widnes, I was born near Widnes’ .

"She was very nice and friendly, we took a couple of photos, had a bit of a general chat and then she said she had to warm up as she was running the relay with Sebastian Coe.

"We wished her luck and she did the same.”

Also representing Widnes Wasps in Monaco were Helen Davies, from Widnes, Helen Moore, from Prescot, Julie Moses and Michele Lindsay, from Rainhill, and Stacey Clark, from Great Sankey.

First Widnes Wasp home in the 10k was Helen Davies in a time of 48:55.

It’s been a busy few weeks for the Wasps, a running club which is this year celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Eight runners took part in the Trimpell 20-mile race in Lancaster, Lynsay Adair, from Widnes, completed two back-to-back trail marathons on consecutive days and Catherine McGann scored a personal best in the Bradford 10k.

Meanwhile, nearly 20 members are training for a collection of spring marathons, including London, Manchester, Brighton and Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The club has 60+ members and meets Tuesdays, Thursday and Sundays at Birchfield Road Sports & Social Club, in Widnes.

Further information: www.widneswasps.co.uk