Alexa Efraimson, the best high school middle-distance runner in Washington state history, has announced her retirement from professional competition.
Efraimson capped her junior year at Camas High School by breaking the U.S. high school record for the 1,600 meters at the 2014 state championships in Tacoma.
“After competing professionally for eight years, I am ready and excited to move onto the next chapter of my life,” Efraimson wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday.
Efraimson won four state high school track and field titles and two cross country championships. She was named the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year in 2013.
Efraimson ended her prep career with a bang at the 2014 state track and field championships. She ran 4 minutes, 33.29 seconds in the 1,600, beating a national record set by Christine Babcock in 2008. She also set a state meet record in the 800 in 2:04.10.
That summer, Efraimson finished sixth in the 1,500 World Junior Outdoor Championships.
Efraimson’s professional career started on a successful note. In May 2015, she set an American junior record in the 1,500 by running 4:03.39 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore.
In 2016, Efraimson set several personal bests and finished sixth in the 1,500 at the Olympic Trials, narrowly missing one of three spots on the U.S. Olympic Team.
Efraimson’s last international highlight came in 2019, when she won the bronze in the 1,500 at the Pan Am Games in Peru.
Efraimson missed most of 2020 after undergoing shoulder surgery. In early 2021, she joined an elite Nike training squad led by Pete Julian after being coached by Mike Hickey the previous 10 years.
“Before this season, I wasn’t expecting it to be my last,” wrote Efraimson. “I started the season with the same drive I always did, specially after a rough 2021 season. I was disciplined, excited and training was going well!”
Efraimson competed at three events in the 2022 outdoor season, running a 1,500 best of 4:14.94 at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif.
“Racing was a bit of a roller coaster, but I eventually came to a point in the season and realized: I’m not enjoying this. I had no fight or fire in races,” Efraimson wrote.
Efraimson, 25, wrote that the decision to step away from competition was “hard and a little bit scary.” She explicitly thanked her parents, Dan and Chantel, Efraimson.
“You helped me verbalize how I was feeling,” Efraimson wrote. “And though it was emotional, your guidance and advice was exactly what I needed.”
Efraimson earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Portland in 2019. She wrote she’s “so incredibly excited for the next chapter.”
“I was fortunate to run professionally for as long as I did and highly valued the growth I made as a person, on and off the track,” Efraimson wrote. “Though running can teach you endlessly about yourself, it’s not adding to my life anymore.”