Marathon could be Farah’s next big challenge

Julian Harris
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DISTANCE running hero Mo Farah may compete in next year’s London marathon, the double gold winning Briton said yesterday.

Despite storming to a thrilling victory in Saturday’s 5,000m Olympic final – adding to his 10,000m gold – Farah is hungry for more success in order to cement his place in history.

“I’m not sure about next year but I do want to run the London marathon,” Farah said yesterday. “I am quite excited about it, the crowd, it would be amazing to do that event.”

Farah will talk to his coaches about moving to the longer distance, yet warned that he may be advised to stick to the track for now and joked that he “could be rubbish” at marathons.

“Alberto [Salazar, Farah’s coach] will probably say it’s too early,” he said, adding that it may instead be an option for later in his career.

London 2012 chief Seb Coe poured praise on Farah on the weekend, insisting that the Somalia-born Londoner is now “the greatest runner we’ve produced in this country”.

Farah’s 5,000m win “was absolutely top drawer”, enthused Coe, who himself won Olympic golds for distance running.

Yet another former running hero, Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, said that Farah has to run marathons or half marathons in order to become a “long distance great.”

“Without him doing that you can not talk about him in that way,” a blunt Gebrselassie said.

And yesterday the London marathon’s director, David Bedford, encouraged Team GB’s latest hero to run the race in his home city.

“Mo Farah is welcome to run the London marathon any time he likes,” Bedford said. “Mo has to take some time out and decide his next step. I’m sure that his next move will be to the marathon. I will be amazed if his debut is not in London.”

Despite being visibly delighted at his double Olympic gold, Farah revealed yesterday that he is far from falling into complacency. “Tonight I’m going to go for a run,” he said, arguing that his opponents will now be even more determined to beat him in subsequent races.

“It’s unbelievable,” Farah said of winning his second gold medal. “I was feeling tired coming into the race. When I took the lead, I knew I had to hold on to it.

“Those two medals are for my two girls. They can have one each. I don’t know what’s going on. Everything has a time and it’s all worked out. Two gold medals... who would have thought it?”

Farah thanked the crowd for their support, comparing the electric atmosphere in the Olympic stadium as he blitzed his final circuit to the noise when his beloved Arsenal score a goal.

THE MAN who has led British athletics to six medals in London’s Olympic Games will take “a few weeks” off to weigh up his future, he said last night. Charles van Commenee is one of the few people not satisfied by Team GB’s performance in track and field, having set an ambitious target of reaching eight medals.

“I’ve got mixed feelings about it. It’s clear that we had a target of eight medals but there is plenty to celebrate and to remember,” Van Commenee said. “There were real iconic moments.

“We put athletics back on the map in this country. We lost our credibility collectively over the last 15 years or so and now I think people are proud, so I’m happy with that. Nevertheless, I’ve made the point when I was asked ‘what do you do when the target is not hit?’ – for me at the moment it doesn’t change.”