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400m runner Kelly Massey retires from athletics

Olympic, Commonwealth, European medalist and 400m runner Kelly Massey has announced her decision to retire from athletics on social media.

Celebrating turning 33, she says now is time to "sit back and enjoy everything I have achieved."

Kelly will be best remembered as a dependable relay runner for GB and England teams over the last decade. 2016 was a particularly strong year, as she took gold in the 4x400m at the European Championships in Amsterdam and followed that up with bronze at the Olympic Games in Rio. The Coventry-born athlete played an important role by running in the heats of both competitions.

Her passion and experience in these situations have been valued by fans and selectors and are likely to have helped younger athletes like Emily Diamond, Seren Bundy-Davies and Laviai Nielsen feel more comfortable in the team at recent major tournaments.

Individually, Kelly retires from competition as a Sale Harrier, but previously ran in the black of Birchfield, as well as for Liverpool John Moores University. She won the British Universities title in 2006, in its previous guise as the BUSA Championships. A year later, she managed an impressive Inter-Counties and England under-23 400m double.

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In 2014, she beat Shana Cox, Diamond and Bundy-Davies to take the British title, before making the final of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and setting her lifetime best of 51.96s in one summer. 

Several team-mates and fellow British athletes have paid tribute on Twitter following her announcement. Emily Diamond described Massey's retirement as "losing her right-hand man" while Greg Rutherford said: "Happy retirement Kelly. You’ve been an incredible athlete and a major asset to the British team. Enjoy your freedom."

Those who follow her social media pages will know that Kelly Massey often enjoys baking. GB sprinter Dina Asher-Smith suggested she might now have more time to bake cakes. Having been treated to a peanut butter brownie cupcake at the 2017 British Indoor Team Trials, I can confirm this would be good thing.

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