Sir Mo Farah has his sights set on World Championships glory next year following his third-placed finish at the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Farah not only beat Steve Jones’ 33-year-old British record with a time of two hours six minutes and 21 seconds, he also proved to himself that he can mix it with the best.
The 35-year-old multiple Olympic and world track medalist may have finished two minutes behind Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who made it a hat-trick of wins following his successes in 2015 and 2016, and runner-up Tola Shura Kitata of Ethiopia.
But with runners such as Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele and last year’s winner Daniel Wanjiru of Kenya trailing behind, Farah now knows that with a bit of fine-tuning – not least when it comes to collecting his drinks bottles – he has a real shot at success in Doha 2019.
“As you saw, it’s all about learning. I did have a few problems getting a drink,” he said with a smile. “But it took me so many years on the track, you don’t just do it overnight. Over time I hope to get it right so my aim is to continue.
“If I can run 2:06 at the World Championships, they don’t go that quick there. So my aim is maybe in the autumn to try to run another marathon and then see what happens in the summer of 2019.
“My aim is to keep learning, keep bringing my time down and mixing with these guys.
“Forget the time, look who I finished behind. And then there’s Kenenisa, Daniel… you wouldn’t have put me in the top three.”
Welshman Jones may have lost his record, set in Chicago in 1985, but Paula Radliffe’s 15-year world mark in the women’s marathon remains intact.
Last year’s winner Mary Keitany and runner-up Tirunesh Dibaba clearly had Radcliffe’s record on their minds but the sweltering conditions proved too much and allowed 34-year-old Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot to claim victory.
Meanwhile, Great Britain’s David Weir won the men’s wheelchair race for an unprecedented eighth time.