World marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe is facing up to the very real possibility she may never compete again because of ongoing complications with her foot injury.
The 39-year-old was forced to pull out of the 2012 Olympics shortly before the Games, despite having had specialist treatment in Germany in July.
Radcliffe underwent surgery in August when it emerged her foot problems were more serious than first thought and it was then she entertained a future without competition.
However, she still had hopes of participating in a 10km race, as well as the 2014 London Marathon, but now she knows she may never again compete.
“Targets have gone out of the window,” said Radcliffe. “I’m very much in that limbo where I know and accept that realistically it may not be possible.
“But at the same time I have a little window of hope and I would rather be able to finish my career in a race, rather than a race I can’t actually get to the start line of.”
The 39-year-old has endured severe pain and complications in her left foot for 18 years, but still became world marathon champion in 2005 and twice won the world cross-country title.