Key Points:

Craig Barrett has stepped off the walkway for the last time, with the Hamilton athlete yesterday announcing his retirement.

Barrett, 34, represented New Zealand at three Olympic Games, four Commonwealth Games and six world track-and-field championships.

His career highlight was winning the silver medal in the 50km walk at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.

That came four years after his well publicised withdrawal from the previous Commonwealth Games walk in Kuala Lumpur due to dehydration.

Barrett's best placing at the world championships was seventh in 1999 in Seville.

He holds four New Zealand records, over 20km, 30km, 50km and for the two-hour walk.

Barrett won 32 New Zealand titles over various distances, from 3000m on the track to 50km on the road.

His first senior title was over 30km in Wellington in 1993 and his last was over 20km in Christchurch this year.

Barrett's personal highlight was racing against arch-rival Scott Nelson.

"My highlight was every time that I beat Scott Nelson. We had an awesome rivalry," Barrett said.

"I had great satisfaction in beating Scott's New Zealand 20km record by one second."

Barrett said the turning point for him came at the 2003 world championships in Paris when he was disqualified in the 50km walk after just 5km.

"From that point on, I had diminishing returns of satisfaction. The real drive that I had prior to 2003 didn't exist anymore," Barrett said.

"It would have been nice to have done four Olympic Games and join [New Zealand athletes] Les Mills and Lorraine Moller in having attended four."

But Barrett said the time had arrived for him to move on and go back to completing his architectural degree.

He paid tribute to his coaches during his career, Paul Luckie, Graham Seatter and Wang Kui of China.

- NZPA