In attendance at the launch of the Irish Life Health Festival of Running is Jessie Barr. Organised by Athletics Ireland, the event will bring the elite and every-day runner together in a celebration of running and athletics on Sunday 28th of July at Morton Stadium Santry. The Olympian this week announced her retirement from the sport. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.
After fighting to recover from injury for the last number of seasons, Waterford’s Jessie Barr this week announced her retirement from athletics after a great career, the highlight of which was definitely joining the long and distinguished list of Waterford Olympians in London in 2012.
Apart from that, there were many highs in her athletics career, including, a fifth-place finish over the 400 metres hurdles at the U-23 European Championships, a World University Games final and then, on her senior championship debut, a European Championship final in Helsinki. Not to mention three successive national titles — in 2011, 2012 and 2013, to mention a few. She took to Instagram this week with this post to confirm the news. “I’ve managed to keep the news of my retirement fairly quiet for the last few months, but with recent media interest and @tombarr247’s beautiful post, I said I’d better end my radio silence!
At the very end of last year, after another failed attempt at a “comeback” with a heavy heart I finally made the difficult decision to hang up my spikes for good. Although this decision was two years in the making and I have come to accept it, I still have days where I long to be an athlete, to relive all of the nerves and excitement that comes with standing behind a starting block, to put together a great race and be rewarded with a PB for my efforts. Athletics has given me so much over my relatively short career; lifelong friends, amazing memories, incredible experiences, opportunities to travel the world, and some unexpected career opportunities! There were some really tough times, I missed out on a lot because of injury, but I also have to remind myself how lucky I was too! I still managed to go to every major championship, compete in several major finals, hold some records and even become an Olympian!
‘I’ve been very fortunate that during my transition out of competitive sport that I could start transitioning into the next step of my career as a sport psychologist and to help future athletes to realise their potential. I’m excited to see where this next step will take me. For now, it has taken me to Belarus, for my first experience as the Team Ireland sport psychologist!
Thank you to every single person who had supported me in every step of my career… To everyone who trained with me, coached me, supported me, sponsored me…thank you! To my family and friends, my boyfriend, thank you all because I wouldn’t have done what I did or gotten to where I got to without every one of you!
So as I head into the final weeks of my 20s, I’m saying goodbye to my former identity of “Jessie the athlete”, and starting my 30s excited to see what’s next! “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” – (AA Milne – Winnie the Pooh!). Congrats Jessie and best of luck in your next chapter.
Last week, the now former hurdler travelled to Minsk with the Irish team for the European Games, which got underway on Friday, in her role as a Sports Psychologist, having been employed by the Institute on a two-day-a-week contract until 2021.