Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let's Make It a Farewell Party to Remember

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let's Make It a Farewell Party to Remember

Article excerpt



IT feels a relief to have made my decision that this will be my last competitive season in British athletics but it is going to feel really strange. For 20 years, I've always had a major goal to strive for but after my career is over, whether at the end of this season or after the Commonwealth Games next Spring, I know I've got to find one massive new challenge to inspire me.

I don't know what that challenge will be - whether it be climbing Mount Everest or becoming an explorer or something equally bizarre - but I believe in fate and I believe something will provide me with the sort of buzz my track career did, even if nothing can surely recapture the sort of emotions of Athens.

Still, a whole new start line looms and looking down a new track is intriguing and just a bit scary.

Whatever the next major quest is after retirement from racing, there are a few smaller things I'd like to build up, anyway, like my mentoring programme with the talented young middle-distance girls and more development and fitness work with youngsters nationwide.

To be honest, I don't know what direction I'm going in but I felt incredibly proud when someone said to me 'you've become the people's champion'. It made me think I'd love to be able to inspire in whatever way I can. It would be brilliant if I could help do just a little bit to help fashion another Olympic champion.

First, though, I want to make my last months in the sport unforgettable for myself and the British public, who have supported me so fantastically. I announced the decision now because I didn't think it would be right for me to announce at the end of the season 'okay, it's over', thus depriving people a chance to enjoy what I'm going to enjoy on these final laps.

Let's make this farewell tour special. …

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