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World record holder Mary Keitany retires due to injury

One of the best female marathoners of all time says farewell to the sport

New York City Marathon Preview

Four-time New York Marathon champion and women’s only world record holder Mary Keitany is retiring from the sport of running. Keitany has dealt with a nagging back injury that has held her out of competition since 2019.

Keitany, who represents Kenya, currently holds the world record for the women’s-only marathon, with a time of 2:17:01 at the 2017 London Marathon.

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Keitany spoke about her retirement in a statement to World Athletics. “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, however, I’m sad to say, I suffered a back injury in late 2019 and I couldn’t get the treatment I wanted in Europe because of the pandemic-related travel restrictions,” said Keitany.

She rose to the elite scene in 2007 when she won silver and team gold at the World Half Marathon Championships. After the birth of her first child, she upgraded her silver to gold at the 2009 World Half Marathon Championships. 

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Keitany finished fourth at the London Olympic Marathon in 2012, but her most successful accomplishment is winning four New York Marathon’s and finishing on the podium eight times.

Mary Keitany winning the women’s 10K

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She stands third on the all-time fastest marathon list, behind Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25) – and second all-time on New York Marathon victories, behind the late Grete Waitz of Norway, who has won nine.

Keitany also holds the course record at the Ottawa Race Weekend 10K, running 31:21 back in 2014. “As for the future, I haven’t fully decided on my plans but I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family,” said Keitany.