Ironman legend Chrissie Wellington has today confirmed what many in the sport had anticipated, that her sabatical from the one of the worlds toughest endurance events was to be permanent. Wellington announced her sabatical after winning her fourth World Championship in five years at Kona in October 2011. In many ways she viewed this last race as her greatest victory, competing with injuries sustained shortly before the race and having to hold off a very tough competitor in Australian Miranda Carfrae who had taken the crown in the previous year.
On her website Wellington wrote: “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.
As an athlete I sought ‘the perfect race’. That race within myself where I dug to the depths mentally and physically, and that hard-fought race with my competitors. The World Ironman Championships in 2011 was the icing on the cake for me as an athlete. It was my ‘perfect race’ and it ‘completed’ me.
My passion for the sport hasn’t waned, but my passion for new experiences and new challenges is what is now burning the most brightly. Hence, I have got to the point where I know that it is right for me to retire from professional ironman distance racing.”
In an interview with Ironman.com Wellington, who only took up the sport in 2006 and completed her first Ironman in Korea in 2007 (winning the event) said that it had never been her intention to remain in the sport for a long time.
“I remember saying to Brett (Sutton, her coach from 2007 to 2008) when I first started, “I want to achieve success in five years. I don’t’ want to be in the sport for a very long time. For me it wasn’t a lifestyle choice … No disrespect to anyone who views it as such, but for me it was how good can I be at this sport and I answered that question.”
It appears that Wellington is still searching for her future focus, she is passionate about promoting women in sport, and retains some involvement with bike realated pursuits and coaching. Whatever she turns her hand to is likely to be attacked with her trademark determination, passion, and smiles.