Farah’s legendary continues … as he breaks European record

Farah

Farah

HE ran a marathon, won a sprint, smashed a European record and proved, rather forcefully and ominously, that there might well be another Olympic medal in those ageing legs.

Indeed, if previously there were doubts over how Mo Farah’s show might look on the road, then this trip around the damp streets of Chicago took them away. He quite simply killed this strong field with his speed.

In some respects, it was a mirror of all those wins on the track – stick with the herd and kick them in the guts on the stretch, which in this case was the final three miles.

At that point, the 35-year-old had four other men for company. With two to go, the opposition had been whittled down to two.

With one remaining, he waved off Mosinet Geremew, the quickest runner in the field, and surged away to win in two hours, five minutes and 11 seconds, 13sec clear of the Ethiopian.

That took a huge stride past Sondre Nordstad Moen’s European record – 37sec to be precise – and sliced 70sec off his own British mark, set in London in April.

But those timings were only a small slice of the wider context at play, because the broader goal was to beat Galen Rupp, the defending champion and his former training partner.

Quite aside from localised rivalries, the significance of that target centred on Rupp being the Olympic bronze medallist.

If he could beat the American in the US, Farah reasoned, then he and everyone else could draw conclusions about how he might do at Tokyo 2020, which, as he revealed on Friday, is now on his agenda.

To that end, Rupp was obliterated. He came home in fifth, just a shade outside his own personal best but 70sec behind Farah.

It is worth remembering here that Farah was running only his third marathon and his personal best on the startline ranked him down in eighth.

This first win at the distance means his rate of progress has been quite astonishing, as is the sheer range of his personal bests, which span from a European record of three minutes, 28.81sec for the 1500m to 2:05:11 across 26.2miles.

Of course, eyebrows will continue to be raised with this athlete. And that is largely inevitable so long as his former coach Alberto Salazar remains under investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

Farah, who has always insisted he is a clean athlete, moved on from Salazar last year, when he brought the curtain down on his track career and announced his retirement from running for Britain.

On the roads, under the watch of Gary Lough, he has already seen enough in himself to reverse his international exile and this win rather supported the decision.

“It’s only my third marathon and it’s not just a low-key marathon – it’s a major marathon,” Farah said. “A victory and a European record, so I’m more than happy.

“I know I can mix with it the guys. This result just shows it.”

The only sticky moment for Farah, aside from briefly dropping behind the lead group around 18 miles, came at the 21-mile mark when he stumbled briefly.

“I picked up my water bottle and I put my foot in a ditch,” he said. “It was quite painful.”

From there, he recovered, and eventually kicked clear to crush Geremew, an impressive 2:04.00 runner at his best.

Farah, on that scale, believes his potential lies somewhere around ‘low 2:04s or high 2:03s’, and that realistically only the world record holder Eliud Kipchoge is now out of his reach.

That Kipchoge is the best is beyond dispute. But likewise, it is equally clear now that Farah can win medals on the road. – MailOnline

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