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Yamauchi announces retirement
Mara Yamauchi today announced that she has decided to retire from elite competition. After becoming Britain’s second fastest ever marathon runner, and competing both in the Beijing and London Olympic Games, she has decided that now is the right time to move on to new challenges.
But as the 39 year old from Oxford explains, she won’t be giving up running altogether:
“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.
“Running teaches us many useful life skills – you can achieve your dreams if you put your mind to it, that hard work reaps rewards, and that perseverance will get you through tough times. I hope I can share my experience of learning through running, with people from all walks of life. Now that building a legacy from the 2012 London Olympics is fresh in our minds, it’s more important than ever to embrace sport and the valuable contribution it makes to our lives.
“The most memorable moments of my career were finishing 6th in the Beijing Olympics, and winning the 2008 Osaka Marathon. But the most enjoyable thing was just going out training with friends.”
Yamauchi was a frequent competitor in the Virgin London Marathon, competing six times, and finishing runner-up in 2009 behind German Irina Mikitenko, in a time of 2:23:12, a race that Dave Bedford, Race Director of the Virgin London Marathon (2000-2012) remembers well:
“Mara has been a great asset to British marathon running. Her second place in 2009 was an outstanding performance. And she’s a thoroughly good egg!”
Mara will return to her previous employment at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, but will continue to be active in the running world and is looking forward to the next chapter in her career:
“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.”