Athletics - Yamauchi calls time on career

British marathon runner Mara Yamauchi has admitted the time is right for her to hang up her trainers – insisting she has achieved everything she could have wanted to in the sport.

Yamauchi's finest hour came at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when she finished sixth in the marathon and she retires as Britain's second-fastest ever runner over the 26.2-mile distance behind Paula Radcliffe.

The 39-year-old also competed at London 2012 but a heel injury forced her to drop out of the marathon before the race had even reached the six mile mark.

Yamauchi will now return to her previous employment at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and said: "I have achieved my childhood dream of becoming an Olympian, and enjoyed many years training and competing as an elite athlete.

"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."

Yamauchi insisted she could reflect on her career highpoints with pride but also spoke of her love for the camaraderie of running.

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

"I am looking forward to the next stage of my life, and to being able to do things which you can’t do as an elite athlete. Although I will return to work, I hope to stay involved in the running world as much as I can." © Sportsbeat 2013