Kenyan long-distance runner Mary Keitany has announced her retirement at the age of 39 due to a back injury.
Keitany said she had hoped to compete internationally for “several more years” but persistent setbacks in recovering from the injury forced her to end her career.
“I’m sad to say, a back injury that I suffered in late 2019 made a decision about my retirement for me. I couldn’t get the treatment I wanted in Europe because of the pandemic-related travel restrictions last year and every time I thought I had got over the injury and started training hard, it became a problem again. So now is the time to say goodbye – if only as an elite runner – to the sport I love so much,” Keitany said.
Keitany is yet to make a firm decision on what to do next but she said she plans to spend more time with her family. She took breaks in 2008 and 2013 to give birth to her children: Jared and Samantha.
“As for the future, I haven’t fully decided on my plans but I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family. My children are currently 13 and eight. In addition, I am involved with some local charitable enterprises.”
Keitany won the London Marathon thrice, the New York City Marathon four times and claimed gold at the 2009 World Half Marathon Championships.
Keitany’s time of 2:17:01 still stands as the marathon world record for a women-only race. She achieved the feat in 2017 when she won the third the London Marathon for a third time.
She also holds the women-only 25km world best of 1:19:43, set during her victorious 2017 London Marathon run.