London Marathon 2014: Mo Farah's confidence intact despite his collapse in New York
While winning might be his ambition come the weekend, attaining such a reality is infinitely tougher
Tuesday 08 April 2014
The British public have grown accustomed to seeing Mo Farah with his arms outstretched, a beaming grin on his face in celebration. New York was different.
Moments after what was his sole warm-up race for the London Marathon, the double Olympic and world champion was horizontal on the streets of The Big Apple after finishing second in the city's half-marathon before being taken away in a wheelchair.
At half the distance it left the question of how exactly Britain's most celebrated runner would fare over the 26.2 miles of the capital on Sunday but the Londoner, making his debut over the distance, believes there is no reason for him not to swap collapse for celebration.
"I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe I could win," he said. "I couldn't do that. Every race I want to go out and win. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could. My nature in everything I do is to try and win, be it computer games or anything else."
While winning might be the ambition come the weekend, attaining such a reality is infinitely tougher. The longest Farah, who is as low as 3-1 with some bookmakers, has ever run is 26 miles training in Kenya's Rift Valley, where he has spent the majority of his winter away from his family, but that was nowhere near the anticipated pace of Sunday.
As well as his own inexperience of road running, up against him are some of the finest distance runners of all time: the world record-holder Wilson Kipsang and Geoffrey Mutai, the man who beat Farah in New York. Plus there is the most illustrious of all pacemakers in Haile Gebrselassie, a nine-time marathon winner and two-time Olympic champion on track who has pledged to target a world-record tempo.
The sight of Farah being wheeled away barely a few weeks ago were worrying but the 31-year-old played down its significance, blaming it on an earlier fall in the race, which had left him chasing the likes of Mutai in the final stages.
"I was feeling it in the last four miles," he said. "I was seeing stars but I just wanted to finish the race. I was completely out of it afterwards. My coach, Alberto Salazar, has been there and done it and he just told me 'you're faking it, you're OK, get up'."
With four marathon wins to his name, Salazar is better versed than most in what it takes, and the pair are adamant there will not be a repeat in front of his home crowd.
"I'm glad it happened over there, to get it over with, done and come here," said Farah, who had previously collapsed after finishing runner-up at the 2009 European Cross Country Championships. "It was cold so it was maybe a bit of that and a bit from falling over. But it was nothing to be concerned about."
While Farah wants to win that would be a gargantuan ask, which is why his more immediate target is Steve Jones's national record of 2hr 07min 13sec set in Chicago in 1985. "My main target is going for the British record but I'm going to be there with the guys too," he said. "The guys could run 2:07, 2:06, 2:02, I don't know what is going to happen. It's going to be an incredible race whatever happens."
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