“All good things must come to an end…”, and so it is for my career as an elite athlete and marathon runner. After careful thought, I’ve decided to retire from elite competition, and finally hang up my racing shoes. I’ve been very fortunate to have enjoyed several years as an athlete at the sharp end of world marathon running, which I would not have missed for anything. But I feel now is the right time to move on to new challenges, and the next chapter in my life. I will continue running as a recreational runner, and am looking forward to training and participating in running events at a manageable, and enjoyable level. I will soon return to working at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office – and continuing to represent the UK as “the running diplomat”!
The life of an elite athlete is full of excitement, adrenaline, surprises, dreams, and enjoyment. As a marathon runner I have fulfilled my childhood dream of becoming an Olympian; experienced the thrill of winning an international marathon (Osaka, 2008); represented Great Britain with pride; won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal (Melbourne 2006); and become the second fastest UK marathon runner ever (London, 2009 – 2:23:12). I feel like the luckiest person alive to have experienced these wonderful things. But I was only one small part of a long-standing team effort. I thank sincerely, and am extremely grateful to, all the people and organisations who have helped me along the way, especially my husband, Shige, and my sponsors. Without their patience, encouragement, insights, expertise, and support, there’s no doubt I would not have become an elite athlete. Thank you very, very much!
During my marathon career, I have learned many things not just about running, but about life and how to get the best out of yourself – for example creating & maintaining motivation; how to set goals and reach them; always doing your best no matter what; and how to overcome setbacks. Running is an enormous toolbox for life if we can figure out how to tap into it. Looking ahead, I hope I can help other people to get the best out of themselves, and enjoy doing it, through running.