MO FARAH will march onto a track tonight for the first time since the twice-Olympic champion became a three-times world champion in Moscow last August.
The Londoner’s outing in Portland comes ahead of the expected confirmation that he will attempt another double at the Commonwealth Games, opting to pursue a unique set of gold medals in 5,000 and 10,000 metres that also encompasses his European Championship triumphs.
It should be a given that he walks away as a Hampden immortal, American distance runner Bernard Lagat declares. However, it would seem Farah has opted for the safe bet rather than an educated gamble. “If he was looking for a challenge,” Lagat said, “then he would go for the 1,500m.”
Once bitten, twice shy, perhaps, following a creditable marathon debut in London in April that nonetheless saw the 31-year-old in the unfamiliar position of defending his approach. Simply upping his training quotient rendered him fit enough to last the distance but the formula is much more complex.
“When I had my speciality at the 1,500m, that was something I had to put 100 per cent into,” Lagat, the winner of five global titles, said. “And 100 per cent gave me the success I managed to have in 1,500, running 3.26, two Olympic medals. Then when I switched into the 5,000m I realised it was hard to do.”
The physical effects and the impact of greater endurance on raw speed can all knock off the delicate balance of success. When the world champions past and present spoke at the recent Prefontaine meeting in Oregon, Farah, below, was candid. “I don’t think that is for me now,” he said. “And I am looking forward to coming back to the track.”
On his itinerary, as a prelude to the Commonwealths, will be July’s Diamond League in Glasgow, where one possible foe is Chris O’Hare, with the 23-year-old from Edinburgh looking for further gains this summer after introducing himself to the elite in 2013 with a berth in the world 1,500m final.
Forced out of the Dream Mile in Oslo last Wednesday with a hamstring problem, O’Hare’s stock remains high. Lagat, still a force as his 40th birthday nears, has witnessed the best exponent of the craft at close hand with his dreams of an Olympic title denied in 2004 by the Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj, who retains the world record. O’Hare, claims the veteran, exudes a similar toughness. “That always helps, people who are not afraid to run even against guys like Asbel Kiprop. Chris is a kid that can do that. When he is running, he is not worried about anybody else. And these are the most dangerous people. When I was running 1,500m, I used to be careful about these types of people.”
At the Games, the Scot may be more ominous still, Lagat smiles. “First of all he is at home, so that guy is going to be one of the hardest to beat. He can medal.”
n Watch the world’s best athletes including Mo Farah, Yohan Blake and Christine Ohuruogu at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix on July 11-12. Tickets via britishathletics.org.uk