Shvetsov runs out of luck

KNEE LOCKING UP: Comrades veteran Leonid Shvetsov. Pic. Rajesh Jantilal.  © ST.
Russian ultra distance marathon runner Leonid Shvetsov wins the 2007 ultra distance 89,3 kilometres Comrades Marathon down run in a record time of 5hrs:20mins from Pietermaritzburg to Durban yesterday.Shvetsov broke the 21 year down run old record set by Bruce Fordyce in 1986.A record number of 12, 000 runners participated. PHOTO: RAJESH JANTILAL
KNEE LOCKING UP: Comrades veteran Leonid Shvetsov. Pic. Rajesh Jantilal. © ST. Russian ultra distance marathon runner Leonid Shvetsov wins the 2007 ultra distance 89,3 kilometres Comrades Marathon down run in a record time of 5hrs:20mins from Pietermaritzburg to Durban yesterday.Shvetsov broke the 21 year down run old record set by Bruce Fordyce in 1986.A record number of 12, 000 runners participated. PHOTO: RAJESH JANTILAL

COMRADES Marathon record holder for the up and down runs Leonid Shvetsov has told the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) that he is retiring from all competitive running.

COMRADES Marathon record holder for the up and down runs Leonid Shvetsov has told the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) that he is retiring from all competitive running.

"I made a considered decision to stop my competition-running career. This is because when I resumed serious training a month after this year's Comrades, I again started to feel painful 'clicking' in my knee.

"I had the same thing during the race this year, which forced me to slow down on the downhills and in the end resulted in cramping and weakness in my quads in the last 18 to 20km of the race.

"What was worse was that I couldn't get rid of the feeling that my knee might lock at any moment, and the race would have been over for me.

"I was lucky to come home second on the day, and I don't want to get into the situation when I devote half a year of my life preparing to do the 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."

Shvetsov said that through running the Comrades he has been privileged to meet many great South Africans . He will continue running to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and coach runners.

"This was not an easy decision as running took the biggest part of my life for more than 30 years. In fact, September 23 this year was 30 years.

"I have completed 44 marathons, run in two Olympic Games and held the Russian National Marathon record for more than 10 years. I am a family man and now a businessman too, and recently expanded my business, which is keeping me very busy."

The CMA wished Shvetsov all the best for his future. He will be missed come May 30 2010, as he is a fierce competitor who has left his mark on the Comrades Marathon. - Sapa

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