Sport - Athletics: Iron lady Chrissie retires as one of the greatest

Four time World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington visits Feltwell Primary School.
Four time World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington visits Feltwell Primary School.
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Four-time Ironman World champion Chrissie Wellington has no regrets after announcing her retirement from competitive racing.

The 35-year-old from Feltwell will leave the sport as one the greatest to grace the discipline having remained unbeaten over her 13 races.

During a stellar career, she set the four fastest times for the race, including the female world record time of eight hours 18 minutes and 13 seconds in Germany in 2011.

The brutal race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.

After taking a one-year sabbatical from the sport to promote her book “A Life Without Limits” and do charity work and public speaking, the triathlon legend said: “Over the past 12 months I have had time to reflect and think, about my past and, of course, also of my future.

“Being a professional ironman athlete has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.

“I have achieved more than I could have ever imagined, and been so fortunate to travel to some beautiful places, compete against the best in the world, and forge many lasting friendships.

“Those life-changing experiences and memories will stay with me forever.”

Wellington demonstrated her undoubted potential in 2007, claiming her first world title, held in the competitions spiritual home of Kona, Hawaii, less than a year after turning professional and followed it up with consecutive success in 2008 and 2009.

Illness prevented Wellington from successfully defending her crown for a third time, but she returned to regain her title last year in what has proved to be the final championships of her career.

“I always sought ‘the perfect race’, the true meaning of sporting success and the Ironman World Championships in 2011 was the icing on the cake for me as an athlete.

“It was my ‘perfect race’. I finally felt worthy of being called a champion,” she said.

“As I crossed the line I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I was content, I didn’t need faster times, more Ironman victories, more accolades to be assured that I had been the best athlete I could possibly be.

“Of course the decision to retire has not come easy, no important decisions ever are, but deep in my heart I know it is the right thing for me.

“My future will, of course, involve sport and triathlon but it will no longer be the axis around which my entire life revolves.”

She spent part of her year out as pundit for BBC during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Before becoming a professional triathlete, Wellington worked for the British government in an advisory role.