Mo Farah gave an outstanding performance in the London Marathon by breaking the British record and finishing third. Farah’s first London Marathon performance in 2014 did not go to plan as he ended up finishing in a disappointing 8th place.
However, Farah’s return to the capital’s tarmac was triumphant after three months of intensive training in Ethiopia. According to the Daily Telegraph, Farah said, “The marathon runners were going for a world record pace. So it was do or die. I went with it and hung on as much as I could. It was ridiculous.”
After retiring from a track career in which he won 10 world and Olympic titles, the 35 year-old is now fully focused on marathon running. Crossing the line in a time of 2:06:21, it was a tight push to reach the end as there were two water bottle mix-ups due to marathon staff taking pictures rather than helping him find his drink.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “The drinks stations were confusing. The staff were helpful at the end but at the beginning they were trying to take a picture rather than giving me the drink.” Paula Radcliffe, the wife of Farah’s new coach and three-time winner of the London Marathon, said she had “never seen Farah look this tired before” since he crossed the finish line with a grimace on his face, before falling to the ground a few metres later.
Farah kept pace with the leaders for much of the race but was two minutes and four seconds behind Kipchoge. It was a battle against his fatigue, the distance and the clock. Tens of thousands of runners amongst Farah endured the hottest London Marathon on record as temperatures soared to 23.5 degrees.
Farah told The Evening Standard: “I know I can go at least 2.04, 2.05, in an even-paced race, today it was the hardest way to run in any race. But at the end of the day you’ve got to fight like a man.”
Remarkably, he now holds national records over 1500m, 3,000m, 5,000m, 10,000m, the half-marathon and the marathon. In the beginning of the men’s race, there was a collective moment of madness, as the field rushed through the first mile in an astonishing 4min 22 sec.
Farah has intended to attach himself to a slower group, with the aim of reaching halfway in 61 min 45 sec. Instead he realised that, because everyone else was following Kipchoge, who reached 13.1 miles in 61 minutes flat, he had to perform as well. Despite Farah’s lack of water, he was still in contention and even moved up to Kipchoge’s should after 18 miles. But it was only the briefest of mirages as he soon slipped back, leaving the 21-year-old Ethiopian Tola Kitata and Kipchoge to battle it out in front, with the latter finally breaking clear near the end to win by 32 seconds.
Kipchoge told the Guardian: “I was a little bit worried. But I said it would be a beautiful race and it was.” Farah regretted running his first half too quickly but was still pleased to break the British record.