Mo Farah: Breaking marathon world record excites me

With training for his first race in London in full swing, double Olympic champion tells Matt Majendie he is aiming high

The image is endearing: Mo Farah's gangly frame slicing through the water – unsuccessfully at first – on a pair of waterskis in the sea surrounding Richard Branson's Necker Island.

The British public could be forgiven for expecting Farah to walk on the crystal Caribbean waters, such has been his sporting infallibility over the last two seasons. In that time, he has been crowned double Olympic and double world champion over 5,000 metres and 10,000m.

To call such distances his comfort zone would be to downplay the magnitude of his achievements and his dominance but Farah is clearly heading outside his comfort zone into choppier waters with a first foray at the marathon next year.

Expectation is high – how can it not be after the wonders of London and Moscow? – but it is worth noting that Farah is a novice at the 26.2-mile distance, twice as far as he has ever run in competition. Trying somewhat to dampen those expectations on the streets of London for the capital's marathon in April, he says: "I've never done the marathon before."

But as with everything that Farah and his coach Alberto Salazar plot, everything has been planned out meticulously from the moment Farah's Necker Island holiday and attempts at waterskiing ended in September.

Currently, he is averaging more than 120 miles a week in training – the equivalent of about four and a half marathons, a noticeable increase in distance compared with when preparing for the track.

His somewhat understated assessment of training so far is, "It's going all right" before adding, "I'm feeling more tired than ever".

Looking ahead to the London Marathon, he says: "Well, it's not long at all. The hard training has already started, I'm training every day and getting more miles. It's getting there."

As well as more distance, it has also entailed him starting winter training earlier than in seasons past, and the suggestion from Salazar that his technique would need fine-tuning, his stride thought not to be perfectly suited to the rigours of the marathon.

Such nuances, however, do not unduly trouble the laid-back Farah, who insists he will be fine "as long as you have the right equipment". The key piece of equipment is a reported wonder shoe Nike is working on. Salazar has suggested the improved technology will save Farah a few minutes over the course of a marathon.

Of his coach's claim, Farah says: "It could do but it's also about getting the right training, about getting the race right, to study up. As long as you're training well for it, that's the key.

"In the marathon, you have to save as much energy as you can, and not get excited. Nike are still working on the shoe. I can't give away too much but they're shoes that work for me. Everyone's different. I don't know exactly but it will definitely help me move forward."

Farah has partially studied the marathon course, having run half the race in London last April. So can he realistically aspire to win on his first outing over the distance?

"It just depends on the race," he says. "It depends on what [race director] Dave Bedford does. It depends on the field. It's likely to be as hard as the World Championships or Olympics. It would be nice to go out there and do a first marathon and do well. But at the moment, I have to respect it. It will probably take me three or four times to get it right."

As well as victory, one day the aim is to aspire to the world record of Kenya's Wilson Kipsang, set in Berlin just a month after Farah's Moscow heroics. Rather than be daunted by Kipsang's time of two hours, three minutes and 23 seconds, Farah insists it "excites me".

The pair know each other well, having spent time together in Kenya's Rift Valley during winter training. To date, Farah has not been one for world records, instead focusing on the major championships. It is the one caveat that his peers mention when discussing his greatness as a distance runner. So could the Londoner one day aspire to be the world's fastest man on the road?

"I'll get an idea after this one and a feel for it," he says. "Every athlete is different. I'll see how I feel and whether it suits me. I can be a good marathon runner or not."

While the road will be the No 1 aspiration of next year, the track – and that of Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium in particular – has been the abiding memory of 2013. The double double has led to him being nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year for a second successive year.

Farah admits, "I'm voting for Andy Murray," as, it would appear, is the rest of the general public following his Wimbledon singles triumph. Farah, who was in the royal box to watch part of Murray's passage to the final in a rare break from training, says of his Sports Personality rival: "He's a great lad and what he's achieved is great. I like him and I've watched him with great interest in the past year.

"For me, it would be nice to win but at the moment it's out of your control. What I do best is run and train hard. It's nice to have a title but it is what it is."

Regardless of where Farah places in Sunday's voting, his popularity in the general British psyche is cemented, to the extent he does not worry about a change of perception should the marathon prove a struggle.

Asked if he fears a drop in support should his road results be poor, he says: "No, I love the British public. No one's going to hate you or dislike you if you have a bad race or a bad year."

Even with a change of sights, such is the crest of a wave that Farah is travelling along a bad year looks highly unlikely.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on