Mo Farah eager to emulate the great flying Finn Lasse Viren

Mo Farah will return to London next year to make his marathon debut proper but beyond that it is the extraordinary exploits of the flying Finn Lasse Viren, the greatest distance runner in Olympic history, that offer a clue to the possible long-term ambition of the Briton.

Viren did the double distance double, winning the 5,000 metres and 10,000m at both the Munich and Montreal Olympics, and in the latter went out 24 hours after taking gold in the 5,000m to compete in the marathon as well. Farah, 30, intends to compete at the Rio Games but has yet to decide in which events.

There have been suggestions that if his marathon debut in London goes well that will be the distance he concentrates on, while matching up the 5,000m and the marathon is another possible avenue. But yesterday, as he discussed his first experience of the London Marathon – of which he ran half on Sunday – before flying back to his adopted home in Portland, Oregon today, Farah brought up Viren.

"It would be nice to do like Lasse Viren; he did track and from there went to a marathon – that's a challenge," he said. It will remain only a possibility until Farah crosses the marathon finish line next year – a disastrous run might end the experiment there and then, but if all goes to plan it raises the intriguing prospect of Farah taking on the treble.

To attempt such a feat would also need the luck of the draw, although whatever schedule the organisers come up with it will remain a daunting challenge. By the time Viren lined up for the start of what was his first-ever marathon in Montreal in 1976, he had already run 30,000m in the space of a week. The competitiveness of the marathon field today makes it an even tougher task and the realities of preparing adequately for three events may yet limit Farah's ambition.

First comes his attempt to double up at the World Championships in Moscow in August before focus returns to the marathon – a distance Farah is clearly fascinated by.

"I'm now the champion and the hunted," said Farah of what awaits in Russia. "The worlds will be as hard – but not harder [than London] – because I'm a marked man now and everyone will know my tactics."

He believes, though, that he is in a good place at the moment and looked fresh and fit in keeping up with a frantic pace during the first half of Sunday's race. "I'm in probably slightly better shape than I was last year," he said.

Farah will take a short break after the worlds before beginning his marathon preparations in earnest. The first target next spring will be the British record of 2hr 7min 13sec, which has stood for 28 years since Steve Jones – the last Briton to win the London event – recorded that mark in Chicago.

"I'd like get close to the British record," said Farah after being given a special half-medal from the race organisers following his 13 miles on Sunday. "My training partner [Galen Rupp] has run 2:07 and he is doing similar things to what I'm doing.

"If you've won medals on the track, what's next? It would be great to be able to run the distances and then win medals in the marathon – work your way through."

Lasse faire: Flying Finn's exploits

Lasse Viren

The enigmatic Finnish policeman who liked to train in the woods – "the tranquillity of nature creates mental strength" – became the fourth man to win the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m double in 1972 and repeated the feat in 1976, as well as coming fifth in the marathon. Competed in 1980 but finished outside the medals – some blamed over-training for the marathon as the reason for his failure.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: The Job:SECONDARY teachers need...

Behaviour Support Work

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Behaviour Support WorkerThe JobTo...

English Teacher, Aylesford School

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is working in...

EBD LSA required - Vale of Glamorgan

£60 - £65 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The J...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker