Mo Farah to become a half-marathon man in London

 

birmingham

For Mo Farah, it was a relative sprint in the National Indoor Arena yesterday. The marathon, however, is coming for Britain's double golden boy.

No sooner had the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion crossed the finish line after securing victory in his first race of 2013 than it was announced that he would be lining up for the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 21 April. It will not be Farah's marathon debut – he will run with the elite group to the halfway mark – but the unprecedented arrangement will be a stepping stone to the 29-year-old Londoner's graduation to the classic 26.2-mile distance.

"I will make my marathon debut in the 2014 London Marathon but will run the 2013 race to halfway as part of my preparation for next year," Farah said after pulling clear of the Frenchman Florian Carvalho to win the 3,000m in the British Athletics Grand Prix meeting. "It will allow me to understand the course and the systems I will need when I run the full distance."

There is always the possibility that Farah might be tempted to stay the full distance in this year's race. After all, Tom Byers entered the 1500m at the Bislett Games in Oslo in 1981 as the designated pacemaker, but decided not to drop out and ended up hanging on for a famous victory against Steve Ovett.

Asked if there was any chance of him "going all the way", Farah insisted: "No, there's no chance. I have a plan to go to halfway and that will be it – even if I'm tempted to finish, even if I feel great. My plan's just to run the half, get good experience and look forward to 2014."

It's a plan that drew a raised eyebrow from Paula Radcliffe in the BBC television commentary box. "Honestly, I find it a little bit strange," the women's marathon world-record holder said. "It's not what I would have done.

"Either you find a good half-marathon somewhere or you take the plunge, attack the distance and race it. Here, he's caught between two stools. For me, you go into the London Marathon when you're ready to do it and attack it hard. But everybody has different reasons."

Farah responded: "I don't think it's strange at all. The more practice you do the better chance of getting it right. It's not just about running in the marathon. It's about dealing with everything – making sure you've got the carbohydrates the night before and you get the right sleep, and getting up and going on the bus to the start. It's going to be perfect practice for 2014.

"And, secondly, running in the London Olympics, having 80,000 people cheering for you… that was the best thing ever. I ran in the mini-marathon when I was younger and I just get excited thinking about the amount of people who can come out on the marathon course and give me that support and that energy.

"It will also be great for the people who didn't get a chance to go to the London Olympics." According to Hugh Brasher, the race director of the London Marathon, who was on hand to make the post-race announcement, the 26.2-mile route from Greenwich to The Mall is lined by crowds of 650,000 each year.

"Almost 10 times the amount of the Olympics," Brasher said. "It's a fantastic opportunity for British people to see him back in London, his home town."

When it comes to the 2014 race, it will be a fantastic opportunity for British men's marathon running to move on from the 1980s. Steve Jones's UK record – 2hr 07min 13sec – dates back to 1985, when Farah was two. As it happens, Farah runs a half-marathon next weekend in the United States. Helen Clitheroe is also entered for the New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon and, after missing the home Olympics because of injury, the 39-year-old Preston Harrier – preparing for her full marathon debut in London in April – returned to action with a gutsy victory in the women's 3,000m yesterday, clocking 8min 50.16sec.

There were also notable wins for Holly Bleasdale in the pole vault (4.70m) and Shara Proctor in the long jump (6.78m).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Permanent Class Teachers Required for 2015/2016 - Suffolk

£21000 - £50000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teachers seeking perma...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teachers Required in Norwich and Great Yarmouth

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am working on behalf of a ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate - Newly Qualified Teachers Required For Sept 2015

£21000 - £50000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate Teachers/ Newly Qua...

Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate - Newly Qualified Teachers Required For Sept 2015

£21000 - £50000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate Teachers/ Newly Qua...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food