Mo Farah brought down the curtain on one of the most glittering careers in athletics today and declared: “I just enjoyed what I did.”
The 40-year-old laced up his spikes for the last time for a farewell appearance at the Great North Run, finishing fourth in the half-marathon race.
Farah, who retires with four Olympic gold medals and six World Championships, high-fived the crowd as he completed the final stretch.
“It’s been an amazing journey when I look back, there’s been so many messages from people all over the world saying thank you,” he said.
“It’s a joy to see that because I just enjoyed what I did and I committed and continued to push myself to win medals again and again.
“To look back from the other side now and see people saying to you, ‘this is what you’ve given us, this is what you’ve done’ is incredible to see.”
Farah’s crowning achievement was becoming the first British man to win the 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic double at London 2012. He retained his titles four years later in Rio.
Great North Run founder Brendan Foster, his friend and mentor, said: “Mo Farah is the greatest sportsman or woman Britain has ever had. We’ll never see his type again.”
Farah finished three minutes and 30 seconds behind Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola, who won the men’s elite race in 59 minutes 58 seconds.
Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir won the women’s elite race with a time of 1:06:45. Britain’s Charlotte Purdue finished third.