Kelly Holmes Runs Out Of Desire

Holmes loses desire to continue racing
By Tom Knight in Potchefstroom, South Africa
(Filed: 11/11/2004)

The chances of Kelly Holmes competing in next year’s two major championships appeared remote after she admitted that the hunger for racing had gone.

Out of the spotlight: Holmes says she has no more goals
Britain’s double Olympic champion confessed that she was enjoying a life outside athletics, though she stopped short of saying she was thinking of retirement.

Holmes, who won gold in the 800 and 1500 metres in Athens, could target more major honours in the European Indoor Championships, in Madrid in February, and the World Championships, in Helsinki in August.

She had told journalists at the Athletics Writers’ Association dinner that she planned to enjoy her future races and asked them not to be critical if she lost a few.

Speaking here yesterday, however, Holmes said she had no plans to race in Madrid or Helsinki.

Holmes, who is running a Norwich Union-sponsored training camp for some of Britain and South Africa’s best young female middle-distance runners, said: "I haven’t made any plans at all. I hope to do a couple of indoor races if everything goes smoothly and I feel fit enough. But I haven’t made any immediate plans that would include the European Indoors. That would depend on if I feel in shape to go there and do something good.

"I don’t have to be 100 per cent focused any more. I don’t have to be totally driven. I can open up to other things, because I want to and because I can.

“I am 34 and my goals were to be in the army and be Olympic champion and I have achieved those. I have no more goals. At some stage I have to make new ones but I don’t need to rush into them.”

As for Helsinki, Holmes said: "I don’t know. My focus is on this training camp and I want it to be successful. I hope people will realise that things have changed and will see how happy I am to have achieved what I have.

"It’s not as if I don’t think I’ll have the same focus. I just won’t have the same hunger.

"I will be determined when I find something I want to concentrate on. I’m not going to run just for the sake of running and think, ‘now, I can do anything’.

"When I run, I want to perform. Otherwise, why bother running? I could give up now and make my life a lot easier.

"I’ll have the same determination when I race but the hunger to have a key thing or have a certain title? I don’t think I could have that hunger any more.

“When I train, I train for a purpose so it’s hard to think about getting back into the same routine. I know that I won’t because I have so many other things coming on so my life is going to be different in that respect.”

Holmes has taken only three days off since she returned in triumph from the Olympics. Even then, she spent the time collating the notes and diary she kept in Athens for her new book, My Olympic 10 Days, which is published on Dec 6.

She said her most memorable moments since Athens included meeting the Queen, having dinner with the Princess Royal and being introduced by David Beckham to the England team before their World Cup qualifying match against Wales.

“I want to do the other things,” she added. "It would be silly not to take up opportunities. I still put in 100 per cent effort when I train but I can be more flexible. Before, if I had a training session, everything would fit around it.

“For three weeks, I didn’t do anything. I didn’t have time. I did nothing, ate everything and hardly slept.”

Once known as Britain’s most often injured athlete, Holmes started training again only two weeks ago and has already had to consult a doctor, take anti-inflammatory tablets and receive homeopathic injections because of a calf problem. “On the first day’s training, I felt like a donkey,” she said.