Chrissie Wellington has announced she's taking a break from racing in 2012.

The reigning four-time Ironman World Champion from Great Britain is keen to pursue other interests.

 'The past five years have been absolutely incredible and I am extremely happy, proud and content with everything that I have achieved in the sport – topping it all off with the race of my life in Kona last year,' she said in a statement on her website.

'I have always seen triathlon as a part of my life, rather than the be all and end all, and am looking forward to a little more variety and balance by pursuing other interests, as well as spending more time with my family and friends.'

The decision will create a lot of intrigue in women’s racing this year, as the undefeated Wellington will not be present on the Big Island. This leaves the door open for the likes of Leanda Cave, Rachel Joyce and Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae to duke it out for the World Championship in Kona.

Get the latst news by following editor Tim Bradley on Twitter and don't forget to share your views on Facebook!