Mo Farah sets new half-marathon record in Lisbon

It was the first time a British athlete had run the 13.1 mile distance in under 60 minutes

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The Independent Online

Mo Farah broke the European record on his way to an impressive victory at the EDP Lisbon Half-Marathon on Sunday.

The double Olympic champion sprinted clear of Kenyan Micah Kogo to win in 59 minutes 32 seconds, taking 20 seconds off the mark set by Spain’s Fabian Roncero 14 years ago.

It was the first time a British athlete had run the 13.1 mile distance in under 60 minutes.

This latest success suggests he is in the best shape ahead of a season in which he will aim to retain his 5,000 and 10,000 metres World Championship titles in Beijing in August.

“It feels amazing, I got massive support from the crowd,” Farah said.

“It wasn’t easy, the race organisers put in a great field. To win here was hard, but it’s my birthday tomorrow so it’s a good birthday present.”

Farah finished a second ahead of Kogo after the pair had broken clear from another Kenyan, Stephen Kibet, who had to settle for third in 59:58.

Farah was content to let the Kenyan pair set the pace before reeling them in with a couple of miles to go.

Kibet fell back, but Kogo proved tougher to crack before Farah’s superior finishing speed took him clear.

The Briton tumbled to the ground after crossing the line, but reported no lasting damage.

He said: “My legs were so tired. Normally when you cross the line you step over the tape, but I was so tired I couldn’t lift my legs and tripped over it.”

Farah’s previous best was 60:00 at the Bupa Great North Run last September, but that was set on a downhill course rather than a looped route.

The Lisbon course is flat and fast and was the setting for Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese’s world record of 58:23 in 2010.

There was also British success in the wheelchair races for David Weir and Shelly Woods who continued their preparations for next month’s London Marathon.