Laura Weightman

Sadly Laura Weightman has announced her retirement due to injury, aged 32.  She last ran on the track in June 2021. In an illustrious career, she won 4 major medals:

European bronze at 1500 – 2014 and 2018

Commonwealth Games silver in 2014 (1500) and bronze in 2018 (5000).

She was seventh in the London 2012 Olympics in the 1500, sixth in the 2017 World Championships at 1500, and seventh at 5000 in Doha 2019.  She was British champion at 1500 five times in the period 2012-2000.

Her statement said: “A day that has come far sooner than anticipated, but I must sadly announce my retirement as a professional athlete. I’ve had a very challenging few years dealing with a number of injuries, surgery, and extensive rehab.

“Throughout this period, I always believed I could return and compete again at the highest level, but my body is saying no. In order to protect my long-term health, I’ve made this very difficult decision. I’m heartbroken I won’t get to race just one last time. However, I hope that one day, my body will allow me to run for fun. It needs time, as much as I do mentally, to heal from such a difficult period. I will always look back and be proud of the career I have had. 

“I can’t even imagine telling the 13-year-old ‘me’ what journey she was about to embark on! Sport really is so much more than the medals and PBs. It’s the people and places it’s taken me that I’ll never forget. I will be forever grateful to those around me who have made this journey possible. Too many to name, but they know who they are. This won’t be the end of my involvement in the sport I love so much. I hope to continue coaching and supporting the next generation!”

Laura Weightman, photo by Getty for British Athletics

For much of her career, she was coached by Steve Cram, of whom she said: “I’ve been working with Steve for just over 10 years {in 2019].  That is quite a long time, especially in elite sport, to work with one coach, but it’s definitely a relationship from which I have benefited hugely working with Steve, and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today without the work we’ve done together and am extremely grateful to be learning from him all the time. He is so experienced, and he’s got the knowledge. He has had the experience of major championships and a world record.  He’s got so much experience he can pass on to me, and I am definitely learning from him all the time”.

Having won medals at 1500 and 5000, Laura was one of those athletes who was never totally sure what her best distance was. – not ruling out the 3000!  “The 3000m is an event that I absolutely love, but I sadly don’t get to race it too much. Pre-2019 was one of those races where you just love every step of the way, and everything just falls in line. That, for me, was a really special race.  It is an event that I wish I could run more of, and if it was a championship distance, it probably would be my perfect event. 3000 is definitely a different kind of race, but it’s a distance that is well suited to me with my strength and speed mix.  It is an event that I really enjoy doing”.  She then added, to confirm the uncertainty: “3000m could potentially be my best distance because I’ve shown that I’ve got strength and speed, but I decided to try to explore some more 5000m to see where that could go and try to translate 8.26 [for 3000m] up to 5000m.  But I definitely see myself as a 1500m runner as well”.  I think we could take from that that she enjoys all three!

. 

In 2020, she said that she had started to dabble in road races: “I did a couple of 10K road races last winter and absolutely loved them.  I’d love to explore that more, doing more 10K road races.  Have always said I’d love to do the Great North Run.  Being from the North-East, that’s definitely a bucket list race you have to do.  I can see myself, over the coming years, doing more 10Ks and half marathons to supplement my training with track racing as my main focus.  I don’t really have ambitions to be a road runner right now.  The marathon is not something I can see myself going to.  But 10K and half marathon, yes because being a 5Krunner, you definitely benefit from having that strength.  But I don’t have any ambitions be running 10K track races too seriously in the coming years”.

A talented athlete and a lovely person who will be missed.

​ 

By