Irina Mikitenko retires from athletics

Mikitenko's finest win came in the London Marathon in 2008 (©GettyImages)

German marathon runner Irina Mikitenko has made the decision to retire from athletics after last Sunday's race in Berlin.

Mikitenko, 42, who made a name for herself when she won the London Marathon in 2008, announced the decision in the aftermath of Sunday's race.

Honesty

"I want to end my 25-year career," she was quoted as saying on the European Athletics website. "It is not easy but I must admit I am no longer able to improve."

The 2008 London victory for Mikitenko was the catalyst for a string of fine performances for the German, including a home soil win in the country's capital later that year.

Her time that day of two hours, 19 minutes and 19 seconds was a new German record and is still the seventh fastest of all time and only second behind world record-holder Paula Radcliffe on the European list.

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A few months later and Mikitenko was at it again, retaining her title on the streets of London with a convincing 2:22:00.

While she never had much luck at the Olympics - a 14th placed finish in 2012 followed her absence through injury in Beijing - Mikitenko's has had one of the great European long-distance running careers.

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