Mo Farah vows to race in London – ‘no matter what’

TV screens in the Maracana Stadium show Great Britain's Mo Farah ahead of the Olympic Games closing ceremony. Picture: PA.

TV screens in the Maracana Stadium show Great Britain's Mo Farah ahead of the Olympic Games closing ceremony. Picture: PA.

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The day after the night before and Mo Farah’s thoughts were quickly being turned to his future and his legacy.

Athletes don’t get long at these Olympics before they are asked just how great they really­ are or if and when you are going to retire.

Farah will be 37 in Tokyo and no matter how fast that final lap, the rest of the world will surely have caught him up.

But after becoming the first man to defend both the 5,000m and 10,000m since the legendary Lasse Virén, he was still in no hurry to call it quits.

Next year’s World Championships in London – at the scene of still his greatest moment four years ago – is a tasty target.

He has done the “double” twice at the Olympics and twice at the World Championships too, in Moscow and Beijing. Achieving that feat again on home soil would move him to a whole plinth of his own in the pantheon of long-distance running legend.

“When I line up I’m in the tunnel, I close out everything. All you can see is ahead and not beyond,” he said.

“That’s what drives me and why I’ve become successful and win medals. The day you feel you can’t see that straight ahead, that’s when you have to hang up the spikes.

“I’m still in that tunnel and want to continue. At times it’s hard and the light turns off, as you miss your family, you miss your kids and you just want a normal life.

“But you can’t replace winning medals. I’ll be in London next year because I owe it to all the people that have supported me. No matter what, half injured, whatever, you will see me on that track again. After that we will analyse it and see what my goal is.”

Farah admitted he wanted another crack at the ultimate distance, following his eighth place at London Marathon three years ago. It speaks volumes that he regards that race as a disappointment, even though his time is an English record.

But Haile Gebrselassie set a marathon world record aged 35 andbelieves time is still on Farah’s side. American runner 
Bernard Lagat, who finished fifth behind Farah over 5,000m, aged 41, also thinks running only improves with age.

“I believe I need to run a couple of key marathons in my career,” added Farah. “When I did the London Marathon I felt I went straight in the deep end and to be honest I struggled. It was a totally different pain.”

Farah was in reflective mood in Rio yesterday. Perhaps the pressure of expectation had been all a little too much. Whatever the future holds, right now he just wants to go home to his family, his ambition of an Olympic medal for all four of his children secure.

“The Olympic Games for me were huge in my career and it’s changed who I am,” he said.

“I used to dream of becoming Olympic champion. I remember seeing Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat in Sydney and wondering if I could do it.

“I was in school at the time and I had a poster in my room of that moment printed in one of the papers and had it on my wall and thinking ‘I want to be Olympic champion’.

“That’s who I am now. In my career I want to continue winning medals and making my nation proud. That’s what I do.”

l Aldi is the first Official Supermarket partner of Team GB and has been championing our nation’s extraordinary athletes on their Road to Rio and encouraging the public to tuck into fresh, affordable, Great British food. For more information visit aldi.co.uk

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