I have shared my heartache at the prospect of retiring from athletics on this blog before (see Goodbye…a letter to my sport and When is the right time to retire from sport?), but now the time has finally arrived. Two weeks ago I decided to retire. I started the season with no intention of retiring and was focused on the new challenge of being an 800m runner, but after a highly disappointing first race I know that now is the right time. In that race I ran significantly slower than I wanted to and with that came the realisation that I would not be able to hit the targets I had set myself. As I ran down the final 100m of the 800m race in last place I realised that I want to be remembered for being the athlete that I was and not the athlete that I’ve become.
Two years ago when I retired from the 400m hurdles I wasn’t ready to fully retire, but now I am. There is no doubt that my phased retirement has made this final decision easier to take, but I do still feel great sadness to be saying goodbye to the competitive side of the sport that has been my life for more than 20 years. I will still stay involved in the sport – I can’t let it go completely. I will continue to train and will eventually move into coaching, but I know it will never be same. Nothing will ever replace the feeling of competing on the track and that’s something I will have to come to terms with, but I look forward to the prospect of doing so.