Non Stanford announces retirement from triathlon

The world and European champion will take up a coaching role for British Triathlon at the Leeds Triathlon Centre in the autumn

MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 12: Non Stanford of Great Britain celebrates as they cross the finish line first in the run stage to win the gold medal in the Women's Elite Triathlon competition on day 2 of the European Championships Munich 2022 at Olympia-Schwimmhalle on August 12, 2022 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Former world and reigning European champion Non Stanford has announced her retirement from triathlon after more than a decade in the sport.


The 33-year-old Welsh athlete will take up a coaching role for British Triathlon at the Leeds Triathlon Centre after her final races for Super League in September and October.

Non Stanford’s background 

Non Stanford crosses the line at Hyde Park, London, to become the 2013 ITU world champion. (Credit: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Stanford made the move to triathlon while she was at the University of Birmingham, having enjoyed a promising junior athletics career. It was a move that proved successful almost instantly as she won gold in the Mixed Relay and individually in the U23 race at the 2012 World Championships.

The standout year for Stanford was in 2013 when she not only started the year with gold in Madrid but secured four medals in the World Series and took the victory at the Grand Final to be crowned world champion.

After finishing second at both the Rio 2016 Olympic Test Event and Grand Final in Chicago she secured selection for her first Olympic Games. In the race that started on Copacabana beach, Stanford just missed out on the medals with a fourth-place finish.

Stanford returned to the top of the podium with an excellent race at the 2019 World Series leg in Hamburg before travelling to Tokyo to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Test Event, where she finished a disappointing seventh and missed out on a place in the 2020 Games.

The races that Stanford has featured in this year will last long in the memories for triathlon fans, as she anchored the Mixed Relay for Wales at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and brought the team home to take silver.

In her last individual race representing Great Britain, at the European Champs in August, she showcased her incredible calibre with a textbook standard-distance race. She left T2 in fifth place and worked her way up the field to take the victory on the run.

What’s next for Non Stanford?

Medallists Georgia Taylor-Brown (L), Flora Duffy (2L) and Beth Potter (R) congratulate Non Stanford (2R) as she crosses the line in sixth at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. (Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Her next steps lead her back to the training centre where she spent most of her career, with the role of assistant triathlon coach working alongside the Centre’s head coach Rhys Davey.

She believes the time is right to take a step away from the competitive side of the sport and is looking forward to giving back to the sport she has represented for over a decade.

Quotes from Non Stanford on her retirement

“Stepping away from competitive triathlon has been a difficult decision,” Stanford said. “I’ve had such an amazing experience on the World Class programme, despite the many ups and downs that I’ve faced during my career; and that’s largely thanks to the people, both athletes and staff.

“But knowing I’ll still be working with the team, albeit in a different capacity, is really exciting, and I can’t wait to continue my journey with British Triathlon.

“Ever since being mentored by Dame Kelly Holmes in my teenage years, I’ve been intent on one day paying that forward, by giving back to the sport that has given me so much. I’m incredibly grateful that British Triathlon has given me the opportunity to make this passion a reality.”

Non Stanford during a track session at the ‘On Camp With Kelly Holmes’ training clinic in Potchefstroom, South Africa, in 2014. (Credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

British Triathlon Performance Mike Cavendish said: “Non has had a fantastic career and is truly one of the greats in triathlon. Along with a few others in our outstanding generation of female athletes, she has set the standard for others to follow in her passion, dedication and professionalism. Even when things have not gone her way, she has been a real pleasure to work with and a true role model.

“Non has always led by example and a number of our younger athletes already owe her a debt of gratitude for the way in which she has welcomed and guided them into our training and competition environments.

“When I found out that Non was interested in moving into coaching I was really excited – though after her performances in Birmingham and Munich I admit I did have to double check she was still as keen. She has achieved so much – and is such a great person too – that her potential to influence a whole new generation of triathletes is immense.

“I personally can’t wait to bring someone of her calibre into our coaching team, and I know those based in Leeds – and elsewhere – will feel the same. Our job now is to support her to be as brilliant a coach as she is an athlete and if we manage to do that, British Triathlon has a huge asset for years to come.”


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Top image credit: Adam Pretty/Getty Images