Marathon runner Mary Keitany retired from the sport on Wednesday because of a back injury, ending a career in which she won multiple races in London and New York and set the world record for a women-only race.
The 39-year-old Kenyan said pandemic-related travel restrictions have stopped her from coming to Europe to get treatment on an injury sustained in 2019.
"Every time I thought I had got over the injury and started training hard, it became a problem again,” Keitany said.
"So now is the time to say goodbye — if only as an elite runner — to the sport I love so much."
Keitany won the London Marathon three times, in 2011, '12 and '17. In her victory in 2017, she finished in 2 hours, 17 minutes, 1 second. Only two women — Brigid Kosgei and Paula Radcliffe — have run a marathon quicker and they were in races also containing male pacesetters.
World Athletics makes a distinction between the record times set by Keitany and Kosgei, who ran the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04.
Keitany was a four-time winner of the New York City Marathon (2014-16 and '18), and also won the world half marathon title in 2009.
he said she has no specific plans for the future and is looking forward to spending more time with her family.