Feltwell’s four time Ironman World champion Chrissie Wellington has announced her immediate retirement from competitive racing.
The Bury St Edmunds-born 35-year-old will leave the sport as one the greatest to grace the discipline, having remained unbeaten over her 13 races and setting the female world record time of eight hours 18 minutes 13 seconds in Germany in 2011.
Wellington claimed her first world title in 2007, held in the competition’s spiritual home of Kona, Hawaii, less than a year after turning professional and followed it up with consecutive successes in 2008 and 2009.
Illness prevented Wellington from defending her crown for a third time, but she returned to regain her title last year in what has proved to be the final race 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,” she said. “It was my ‘perfect race’.
“I finally felt worthy of being called a champion.
“As I crossed the line, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.
“I was content, I didn’t need faster times, more 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.”