Mo Farah: Andy Vernon row inspired me to break indoor world record

Farah ran 8min 3.40s at Birmingham Grand Prix

Tom Sheen
Saturday 21 February 2015 19:02

Double Olympic champion Mo Farah said his row with Great Britain team-mate inspired him to break his first world record.

Farah won the two mile race at the Sainsbury's Indoor Grand Prix in a new indoor best of eight minutes 03.40 seconds.

The 31-year-old, whose public feud with Vernon had dominated the build-up to the event at the Barclaycard Arena, let his legs do the talking as wiped more than a second off Kenenisa Bekele's previous mark.

He sat on the shoulder of Kenya's Paul Koech before hitting the front with seven laps to go and pulling clear.

From then on it was Farah against the clock and he came home comfortably inside Bekele's time of 8mins 04.35secs, which the Ethiopian great set at the same meeting seven years ago.

Farah broke the indoor two mile record in 8mins 3.40s

Farah said: "So many times I have been asked, 'Am I ever going to break a world record', so it's nice to say I've done it now.

"I want to be back on the track, that's where I belong.

"It (the row with Vernon) inspired me, I wanted to do it. Whatever's happened has happened, we've got to move on, but at the same time I'm an athlete, that's what I do best. I just have to keep running."

Farah's previous indoor best over two miles, the European record from 2012, had stood at 8:08.07.

But, fired up by his feud with Vernon, which saw Somali-born Farah's claims his team-mate questioned his nationality branded "lies" by his rival, he went through the first mile in 4:03.9 and the last one in 3:59.5.

The duo's disagreement had become public on Tuesday when Vernon criticised the strength of the field Farah faced in Birmingham and in truth the clock was the Londoner's only real opponent.

Vernon congratulated Farah on Twitter, saying: "Everything aside that was a cracking run @Mo-Farah. Congratulations on the new WR."

But asked if he had a message for Vernon, Farah said: "No, at the end of the day whatever's done is done. I just have to move on.

"I think it's too soon to say anything right now. I've moved on and put that behind me. I want to keep running well."

Farah, who has five global track titles over 5,000 and 10,000 metres, said the record had given him the taste for more outdoors.

"Definitely, it's about setting myself a goal and knowing what I want out of the year," said Farah, whose personal bests over 5,000m and 10,000m are some way off Bekele's world records.

"It's two different things going for a world record or going for a championship.

"I shouldn't get carried away, it's only two miles indoors, but at the same time it would be nice to be able to do what I can do for 10k, if I can go close or break it.

"But I will never give up (on championships). I want to be able to know I collected as many medals as I could for my country."

Farah is not competing at the European Indoor Championships in Prague next month, but Katarina Johnson-Thompson warmed up for her tilt at pentathlon gold with a new British indoor record of 6.93m to win the long jump.

The achievement came a week after Jessica Ennis-Hill's multi-eventing heir apparent broke the British high jump record with a clearance of 1.97m.

She said: "I am delighted. Things are going really well at the moment and it gives me confidence going ahead."

"It (the European Indoors) will be just like the World Championships because heptathlon's so strong in Europe. But I feel ready for it now."

Greg Rutherford began his 2015 season with a bang by setting four new indoor personal bests as he won the long jump with a world leading 8.17m.

The Olympic champion saved his best for his final jump to snatch victory with a leap which was just one centimetre off Chris Tomlinson's national indoor record.

Rutherford is still set to skip the European Indoors, though, saying on the chances of him competing in Prague: "I think probably not still."

Elsewhere, Wales' Seren Bundy-Davies smashed her PB to win the 400m in 51.72, taking almost half-a-second off her previous mark.

World number one Jenny Meadows underlined his status as favourite for 800m gold at the European Indoors with another win in 2:01.25.

Additional reporting from PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in