LONDON – Mo Farah underlined his status as the greatest British endurance runner of all time after storming to his third straight 10,000m title at the World Athletics Championships in London. The 34-year-old, in his final major appearance on the track, completed the first half of the long-distance double at the Olympic Stadium on home turf, scene of his maiden Olympic title five year ago, but was pushed all the way towards the fastest time in the world this year.
The Somalian controlled the race from the outset, operating near the back of the field as the inexperienced trio from Kenya – led by the silver medallist from Beijing Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor and the Rio runner-up Paul Tanui – as well as Moses Martin Kurong of Uganda, set the pace from the outset.
Farah regularly gave the field something to think about by making brief forays to the front and intensifying the pace when required, before dropping back into the main group. Such was his comfort in the pack he was even able to play cheerleader, geeing up a home crowd who were in euphoric mood from the outset.
With three laps to go Farah had failed to shake the early pacesetters, as Hadis Abadi stretched out the field. The quadruple Olympic champion was being challenged like never before, even tripping in the closing stages, and heading into the final lap there remained five contenders for a place on the podium.
But even losing his balance and the continued pressure from his rivals could not deter Farah from going on to secure gold, pulling away in the last 200 meters ahead of Joshua Cheptegei, who took silver and bronze medallist Tanui. The Oregon-based athlete will return to the track next week in pursuit of what could be his sixth world title, and 17th track crown, in the 5,000m but the physical legacy from a tough contest leaves him with an uphill task to complete the double.
“It was amazing,” he told BBC Sport. “I had to get my head around it and I got a bit emotional at the start. I had to get in the zone. It wasn’t an easy race. I work on everything and it’s been a long journey. What a way to end my career in London. It’s special”