• Althetics

Olympian Yamauchi retires from marathon

ESPN staff
January 22, 2013
Mara Yamauchi finished second in the 2009 London Marathon © PA Photos

Mara Yamauchi, Britain's second-fastest female marathon runner, has retired from elite competition at the age of 39.

Yamauchi, second in the British record books to marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe, finished sixth in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

But she began considering her future in the sport after withdrawing from her marathon at the London 2012 Olympics with a foot injury, and believes the time is right to move on to new challenges.

"I have achieved my childhood dream of becoming an Olympian, and enjoyed many years training and competing as an elite athlete," Yamauchi said.

"To be able to do what you love as your job is a rare and special privilege, and I am very grateful to all the people who have enabled me to do that.

"I have now decided that it's time to leave elite competition behind, and instead I will run for enjoyment and to stay healthy.

"The most memorable moments of my career were finishing sixth in the Beijing Olympics, and winning the 2008 Osaka Marathon. But the most enjoyable thing was just going out training with friends."

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