Mo Farah scored the first marathon victory of his career in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday (7), setting a European record and dispatching a stellar line-up in the process.
Already the European record-holder over 1500m (3:28.81) and 10,000m (26:46.57), Farah demonstrated his prowess extends all the way up to 26.2-miles as he pulled away from Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew in the last half-a-mile to win in 2:05:11, breaking Sondre Nordstad Moen’s time of 2:05:48 from last December’s Fukuoka Marathon.
Using similar tactics to the ones he employed during his track career, Farah was almost unnoticeable in the early stages and was three seconds off the lead - and right at the back of the leading group - through the halfway point in 63:06.
“The conditions weren’t great. Everyone was thinking about position rather than the time,” Farah told reporters after the race.
After a cagey first half with 13 runners - and two pacemakers - still in contention, Farah weathered the breaks and moved past the stragglers, reaching the 35km mark in 1:44:16. The previous 10 kilometres were covered in 28:58 but Farah still didn’t exert any signs of weakness despite the increase in pace.
“At the beginning, I felt a bit sluggish but overall I’m happy with it,” said Farah, who finished third in the London Marathon earlier this year in 2:06:21.
Farah’s prospects were further embellished as two of his most dangerous rivals - reigning champion and former training partner Galen Rupp from the United States and world champion Geoffrey Kirui from Kenya - soon lost touch with Farah and a dwindling leading group.
Geremew, who won the Dubai Marathon in January in 2:04:00, kept Farah company through the 40km checkpoint and into the final mile but then the inevitable happened. Farah, who won a slew of major 5000m and 10,000m titles between 2011 and 2017, extended his stride effortlessly and opened up a gap of 13 seconds on the sole challenger in less than a mile.
Farah, 35, covered the second half in 62:05 to revise the European record. On his upcoming plans, Farah said: “Just take time off with my family and enjoy time with my wife and kids. I’ve been in a training camp for two months so I haven’t seen them for a while.”
Farah has committed to running the marathon at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and he hasn’t ruled out contesting the marathon at the IAAF World Championships in Doha next September.