Victory in Great North Run for Mo Farah who may target Olympics

Under-prepared, by his own admission, Mo Farah still retained just enough willpower within to deliver a fourth successive Great North Run victory yesterday, able to raise a body fatigued from an arduous season one last time and sprint his way clear as the beaches of South Shields came into view.
Mo Farah races for the line  to win the Great North Run. Picture: PAMo Farah races for the line  to win the Great North Run. Picture: PA
Mo Farah races for the line to win the Great North Run. Picture: PA

Pushed, and almost thwarted, by New Zealander Jake Robertson, the 34-year-old saved a little for the last, winning the half-marathon in 1:00:06, with the Kiwi a mere six seconds behind.

Having retired from the track last month, a fresh chapter beckons but a break is overdue. “It’s been hard to motivate myself after Zurich, after the world championships,” he admitted.

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“I’m sore. Every part of my muscles is aching. Because I did run hard.”

However, the four-time Olympic champion is not yet walking away. Farah confirmed his 2018 campaign on the roads will be primed towards April’s London Marathon but he has reversed his absolutism over concluding his championship career, revealing that he may perhaps consider a swansong 
at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo if his times over 26 miles 
demonstrate he would be in contention.

He said: “It does play on my
mind: ‘do I think I could do Tokyo?’ Only if I’m good enough, if I get there and can medal, then yes. I wouldn’t let my country down.”

Farah’s influence endures, with Andy Butchart – his anointed successor over 5,000m – revealing he consulted with his now-former rival ahead of deciding to engage Boston-based coach Terrence Mahon to oversee what will be a double pursuit of the European and Commonwealth titles next season.

“You make that decision because you want somebody who can help you and give you more and who is committed to you,” said Farah, who flourished following his own Stateside switch in 2009. “I said, ‘I was once like you – I was there but not quite there’. It’s how much you want it. You have to understand who can help get you there.”

In a Kenyan-dominated women’s Great North Run, Mary Keitany won the race in 1:05:59 ahead of compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot, with Gemma Steel the leading Briton in sixth.

Simon Lawson took the men’s wheelchair title in 44:22, with double world champion Sammi Kinghorn 
second in the women’s event in a Scottish record of 52:47 as she builds towards her marathon debut in Chicago next month.

“It’s a lot different from track,” the Borderer affirmed. “But that wasn’t too bad as preparation.”