Kenyan running great Mary Keitany announced her retirement on Wednesday (22) after a stellar career that saw her win the London Marathon on three occasions and the New York Marathon four times, as well as triumph at the 2009 World Half Marathon Championships.

Keitany, 39, also still holds the marathon world record for a women-only race, having clocked a stunning 2:17:01 when winning the third of her Virgin Money London Marathon titles in 2017.

Read the 2013 Athletics Illustrated interview with Mary Keitany here>>

Mary Keitany KEN raises her arms as she crosses the finish line winning the elite women’s race. The Virgin Money London Marathon, 23rd April 2017. Photo: Roger Allen for Virgin Money London Marathon For further information:

“Now is the time to say goodbye – if only as an elite runner – to the sport I love so much,” she said.

“After my successful 2019, when I had some good results including second place in New York, I was hopeful that I could still be very competitive internationally for several more years even though I am in my late 30s,” Keitany added in her statement.

“However, I’m sad to say, a back injury that I suffered in late 2019 made a decision about my retirement for me.

“I couldn’t get the treatment I wanted in Europe because of the pandemic-related travel restrictions last year and every time I thought I had got over the injury and started training hard, it became a problem again.

“As for the future, I haven’t fully decided on my plans but I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family – my children are currently 13 and eight. In addition, I am involved with some local charitable enterprises.”

Keitany demonstrated her ability to run at a world-class level over longer distances, especially in the half-marathon and marathon events.

Her best over the 21.1K distance is 64:55, which is the eighth-fastest performance all-time. She is the fourth-fastest woman all-time at the distance. She ran sub-66-minutes five times. Her 2:17:01 marathon performance is the third-fastest all-time behind only Brigid Kosgei and Paula Radcliffe. Keitany ran sub-2:20 three times. All three were run on the London Marathon course.