Paula Radcliffe has revealed a spider bite threatened to wreck her Olympic ambitions as she battled to recover from a thigh injury.
The marathon world record-holder has been working tirelessly to overcome a stress fracture in her left thigh suffered in May which looked to have scuppered her hopes of making the Beijing Games.
It was the latest in a number of injury setbacks since she was forced to quit during the women's marathon at Athens 2004 due to illness brought on by anti-inflammatories she was taking for a leg problem.
The 34-year-old aims to be on the start line on 17 August upon arriving at the British team training camp in Macau but revealed she came close to Olympic heartbreak for entirely different reasons while undergoing rehabilitation in France.
'I was bitten by a spider three weeks ago and ended up being rushed into emergency. I couldn't walk on my foot for two days,' she said.
'It was the same leg, it was the toxins, and I had a really, really bad fever that night. At first I thought I had sunstroke but I woke up in the night and couldn't stand on my foot at all and by the morning the foot was like a red balloon and there was a red line all the way up the inside of my leg.'