It may not have been the way he imagined bowing out of athletics after almost two decades of dominance, but marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie insisted on Sunday that the time was right for him to retire from the sport.
The Ethiopian, regularly described as the greatest long distance runner of all time, announced his retirement from athletics after abandoning his first bid for ING New York Marathon glory after 16 miles with a knee injury.
The decision brings to an end a stellar career that also brought two Olympic gold medals and saw him break the marathon world record twice, the most recently being two years ago in Berlin with a time of two hours, three minutes and 59 seconds - a landmark which still stands today.
The move came as a surprise seeing as the 37-year-old had been tipped to win Sunday's race, but he insists he cannot continue while carrying the injury.
"When I announce this, maybe everybody will become a little bit shocked but I don't want to complain any more after this. It's better to stop here," a tearful Gebrselassie told a post-race press conference.
"I have had no discussion with my manager, with anybody, only myself. That's why it's better to stop here."
He added: "I never think about retiring. But for the first time, this is the day."