Current Comrades Marathon record holder for the “Up” and “Down” runs, Leonid Shvetsov, confirmed in a statement to the Comrades Marathon Association that he has decided to retire from all competitive running with immediate effect.
“I made a considerate decision to stop my competitive running career. This is because when I resumed serious training a month after this year’s Comrades Marathon I again started to feel painful ‘clicking’ in my knee. I had same thing during the race this year, which forced me to slow down on the downhills and in the end resulted in severe (near) cramping and weakness in my quads in the last 18-20km during the race. What was worse – I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that my knee may ‘lock’ at any moment, and the race would have been over for me. I was lucky to come home 2nd on the day, and I don’t want to get in the situation when I devote half a year of my life preparing to 2010 run and end up stopping or slowing down like it happened to me in 2002. I think I was lucky enough to break both Comrades records.”
Leonid also stated that through running the Comrades Marathon that he has been privileged to meet many great South Africans, and that he has forged excellent relationships with South Africans. Leonid intends to continue running in order to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle, as well as continue with coaching runners.
“This was not and easy decision as running took the biggest part of my life for over 30 years. In fact, September 23rd this year was 30 years. I have completed 44 marathons (and 5 Comrades), ran in 2 Olympic Games and held the Russian National Marathon record for over 10 years, (broken by a runner that I trained 2 years ago). I think I left my small ‘footstep’ in the history of running” “I am a family man and now a business man to, and recently expanded my business, which is keeping me very busy.”
The Comrades Marathon Association wished Leonid all the best for his future, and he will be missed come 30 May 2010, as he is a fierce competitor, and has definitely left his mark on the Comrades Marathon. After all he is the current record holder for the “Up” and “Down” runs respectfully.