Paula Radcliffe is one of the world’s best known female athletes, the current world record holder for the marathon (a brisk 2:15:25), who competed in her last London Marathon last weekend.
Although not running amongst the pro athletes, the 41-year-old mother ran the course in a not-too-shabby 2:36:55 (her slowest ever!), surrounded by club runners and cheered on by the crowd all along the course, back pounding the miles with some secret support of her own.
Stubbornness, a strong mind, some top doctors and physios have got her back running, and last but not least, newly designed insoles utilising 3D-printing technology, helped her tackle one last marathon.
The Belgian orthotics specialist Runners Service Lab, who has been assisting Paula since 1996 with custom-made orthotics, helped fit her out.
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 Belgian 3D printing experts Materialise.
“These fully customised 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,” said Jempi Wilssens. “Needless to say we’re very proud to have helped her with this.”
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.”
Scamper along to 3.17 in this video to see how the RS scan system captures the foot data: