AFTER making a gallant bid to compete at one last major championships, Susan Partridge has admitted that her injury problems are pushing her ever closer to calling time on a fine athletics career.

The 37-year-old Scot, who has represented her country at two World Championships and two Commonwealth Games, went off with the major British contenders in the early stages of Sunday’s London Marathon that was doubling as a trial for this year’s World Championships in the capital.

She knew that had the potential to rob her of the time she was capable of, but she was determined to give herself every chance of being one of the first two women to finish in what turned out to be the fastest women’s marathon ever run.

“I’m not that disappointed because going into it I’ve not had the easiest build up and there were some uncertainties there, but the thing I wanted was the World Championships,” she explained after finishing 21st in a time of two hours 37 minutes 51 seconds, ultimately more than eight minutes behind Alyson Dixon and Charlotte Purdue who claimed those World Championship slots.

“So I put myself in a position where, if it had been my day and I was up there in the right place running the right times I had a chance, but it wasn’t to be and when you go off like that it gets harder in the second half.”

“A more even paced race would probably have been quicker, but if it wasn’t a championship place it didn’t matter to me and I’m quite happy I gave it a go. I don’t regret that and overall it wasn’t the most disastrous marathon I’ve ever run.”

She did achieve another major personal goal, however, in running through the pain caused by a troublesome heel injury to complete the race having cut a distraught figure when, because of a similar problem, she was forced to withdraw during what was then doubling as an Olympic trial last year.

“There was no way I wasn’t going to finish, even if I had to walk,” said Partridge.

“I realised quite early on my foot was OK, I wasn’t in pain like I was in last year. It was pretty awful, but other than the odd ‘God why am I doing this?’ it never really entered into my mind not to finish.”

On a day when she saw Jo Pavey, one of Britain’s finest distance runners, forced to pull out at around 16 miles she struggled with the pace, Partridge – who is six years Pavey’s junior – heavily hinted that she is on the point of quitting as a result of her recurrent heel problems.

“It needs surgery, so at 37, major surgery and then coming back, how likely is that?” she asked rhetorically.

“It’s not age because if it was just that I would be implying that Jo ought to have stopped by now. It’s not. You just come to a point where your build-up is fraught with wondering if tomorrow’s going to be the one that ends this build-up, am I going to get to the marathon, am I going to get to and get into doing it again.

“You have to feel like it’s worth doing. If it comes to the point where you really resent the build-up and you don’t look forward to the race then why are you bothering doing it? I think it’s getting harder now.”