Last Sunday, around 37,500 runners crossed the finish line of the London Marathon, each of them with a story to tell. Among these, some had a very special story to tell, and a select few came with an extraordinary story that needs to be shared with the world…
Paula Radcliffe most certainly belongs to this last category: the 41-year-old mother and current world record holder for the marathon (2:15:25) ran her last marathon in London in a spectacular 2:36:55, giving goosebumps to millions of people gathered along the course and throughout the world. At first sight, the completion of a marathon by one of the biggest names in the sport doesn’t seem very remarkable, but it is… Due to an injury, Paula missed out on the Olympic marathon in London in 2012 and a lot of people thought that her active running career had come to an end. But some stubbornness, a strong mind, some top doctors & physiotherapists and, last but not least, new 3D-printing technology, helped her overcome these injuries and complete one last London Marathon. As the BBC mentioned in an article last week, a multidisciplinary team of specialists in all domains was put in place to get her running:
"Help is sought, from British Athletics and the doctors and radiologist who aided her recovery from surgery, to physicians in Monaco and orthotics specialists in Belgium. 'Thanks to a combination of everything, it started to get better,' says Radcliffe."
The Belgian orthotics specialist mentioned is Runners Service Lab, who have been assisting Paula since 1996 with custom-made orthotics. About a year ago, when nobody believed she could ever run a marathon again, Jempi Wilssens of RS Lab suggested a solution: the 3D printed orthotics he was developing together with Materialise, a world leader in 3D-printed applications. Jempi Wilssens: “These fully customized orthotics based upon dynamic footscan® pressure analysis allowed Paula to train and perform again at a very high level and gave her the possibility to end an outstanding career with a grand finale in London. Needless to say we’re very proud to have helped her with this.” Paula’s very grateful for the support over this long period:
In 2014, the dynamic 3D printed orthotics that Runners Service Lab, RS Scan and Materialise designed together resulted in a joint venture called RS Print. According to Dennis Vandenbussche, CEO of RS Print, the 3D-printed insoles offer
“a perfect example of a completely individualized product that can be manufactured on a large scale and that can help athletes in improving their performance, but also non-athletes who need specific support underneath their feet or even higher up the legs. In that way we help people to improve their every move.”