International athlete, Kelly Neely announces retirement:

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Kelly speaks to NiRunning about her decision to retire and future plans:

After twenty two years of competition, having represented Northern Ireland and Ireland on a regular basis, international athlete Kelly Neely (nee Mc Neice) decided to hang up her spikes after a successful outing at the Inter-Counties Track & Field Championships in Bedford last weekend.

Kelly kindly agreed to answer a few questions for NiRunning in relation to her exciting and successful career and what the future holds.

Name: Kelly Neely

Associated Club: City of Lisburn AC

Personal Bests:  400m = 55:36, 800m = 2:03:28, 1500m = 4:10:30, 3000m (Indoors) = 9:25:74, 10000m = 36:07

What age did you start running?  I started running when I was 11 years old, I thought I was really fast and could be a great sprinter because I could beat all the boys in my primary school.  How wrong was I!  My good friend at the time trained with City of Lisburn AC, it sounded like fun so I went to a training night and never looked back.

What would you consider to be your greatest achievement in running?  Breaking the Northern Ireland 1500m record, running 4:10:30 at the Flanders Cup, Belgium (July 2009).  I also won the Lisburn ’sports personality of the year’ award later the same year; it was presented by the great, Dame Mary Peters.

Do you have any regrets, or something you wish you could have done?  Yes, failing to qualify for the final of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010 (India).   I had struggled with an Achilles tendon injury all summer but had worked hard to get myself into great shape for the games in October, but it turned out to be slow tactical race which just didn’t suit me having raced sparingly!   Also, never competing at an Olympic games!

What are your plans for the future?  I want to start a family and concentrate on my business. I am a Personal Trainer for Fitness First, Connswater but also do freelance work. I want to get back into netball and have just had my first training session with Causeway Netball Team! I played for Northern Ireland Under 20 Netball Team but haven’t played since so it should be interesting!

Memerable Honours/Achievements?  

11 Northern Ireland Championships titles, 400m through to 1500m

Irish Championships (Outdoors):                    Irish Championships (Indoors):

2002 – 2nd in 800m;                                             2007 – 1st in 800m (2:08:73) and 1st in 1500m (4:21:01);

2003 – 1st in 800m  (2:13:22);                               2010 – 1st in 1500m (New Irish Championship best and stadium record of 4:14:63, also a world indoor

2004 – 2nd in 800m;                                                         standard time)

2005 – 2nd in 800m and 4th in 1500m;

2007 – 2nd in 800m;

2008 – 2nd in 800m;

2009 – 2nd in 800m and 2nd in 1500m;

2012 – 2nd in 1500m;  

British Championships (Indoors):                  

2010 – 3rd in 1500m;

Scottish Championships:

2004 (Outdoors) – 2nd in 800m and 2nd in 1500m;

2005 (Indoors) – 2nd in 1500m;

Inter-Counties Championships:

1996 – Northern Ireland Senior Debut!

2003 – 3rd in 1500m;

2007 – 3rd in 1500m;

2012 – 1st in 800m (2:07:03);

Selection for Europa Cup/European Team Championships:
2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

Competed at Commonwealth Games:
2002 – Manchester, UK:  6th in 800m heats (2:06:68) and 11th in 1500m final (4:16:46);
2010 – Delhi, India: 4th in 800m heats (2:04:72) and 6th in 1500m heats (4:18:07);

World Indoor Championships:

2010 – Doha, Qatar: 7th in 1500m heats (4:16:26);

Other Northern Ireland titles:

2007 – Northern Ireland Cross Country Champion
2009 – Northern Ireland 10km Champion

A word from Kelly: “My last ever competitive race was at the Inter-Counties Championships on 25th August 2012, I ran 2:07:03 for 800m, the perfect end to my career as I was racing in my Northern Ireland kit, I loved it! Very proud to be Northern Irish!”

A word from NiRunning:  When we started this project, it was to aid the promotion of Northern Ireland’s running scene and our talented athletes. Completing this feature, finding out a little about what an extremely talented runner has achieved during her career has cemented our belief that we do have an incredible amount of talented runners on our shores. There are many more out there, let’s hope we can find them and give them the recognition they deserve!

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Kelly on her long and successful career and wish her all the best for the future, and in particular wish her every success with her business and renewed passion for netball.