Aileen Reid pens possibly the most heartfelt retirement statement ever 2 years ago

Aileen Reid pens possibly the most heartfelt retirement statement ever

A fighter.

Aileen Reid will go down in Irish history as a battler, someone who gave it everything, came back from the brink and refused to give in until her body simply couldn't give anymore.

At the age of 35, the Derry native (née Morrison) announces her retirement from triathlon and leaves behind her an admirable career that will have no doubt lit the way for the next generation to follow.

Her achievements rubbed shoulders with the best of them. She put triathlon in Derry and in all of Ireland on a world stage and she bows out a distinguished role model.

  • 75 caps for Ireland
  • 3 years ranked in world top 10
  • 2 Olympic Games
  • 1 Commonwealth Games

Reid also won an Asian Cup and a European Cup along the way as well as more medals at World Series level but, on Tuesday, she was forced to call time and did so with a heartbreaking statement that summed up how difficult a decision it was and how much the sport meant to her.

"From time to time I remind myself that I was good once and not to give up," Reid wrote in a moving letter.

"But the light is fading at the end of the tunnel and my belief that I would be able to overcome this injury and be the athlete I once was, is disappearing.

"I don't want to be half-good at anything, and so it's time to wave the white flag.

"I've been through the stages of grieving - it's a scary time leaving something behind, someone I was, something that I did that will probably define me forever."

Sometimes, we bandy around the term 'tough stuff' as if it's just another thing we can throw out there but Aileen Reid is genuinely different gravy.

This is an athlete who has fought back from injury and illness and overcome disappointments and hard luck on the biggest stages and, time and time again, she's come back stronger and more determined.

You only need to chat to her once to get a sense of the drive she possesses. You only would've needed to see her grind her teeth in one instance to know that Aileen Reid's career in athletics will not end with injury or even with her competitive stint. Her influence and her effect will be felt for years to come and you just know that she is going to be a force in Irish triathlon in future too.

She'll get her chance again - her chance to help, perhaps in a different capacity.

"I wanted to end on a high, a positive, I wanted to stand on that podium on more time and it was dream to hear 'Amhran na bhFiann' with the Tricolour (or Northern Ireland flag for that matter) flying in front of me."

It isn't the end, it's just a new chapter.

Thanks, Aileen.