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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
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

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Coordinator / Office Support Administrator

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This London Bridge based estate...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Advisor - Print

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based just north of York, this ...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map