European Athletics’ Running For All calendar is filled almost every weekend with top-quality road races and none more so than the Great North Run, with this year’s edition of the race being won by three-time European Athlete of the Year Mo Farah for a record fourth consecutive year.
Farah just had New Zealand’s Jake Robertson for company after the pair pulled away from the rest of the elite field in the half marathon with just over three miles to go, Farah then unleashed his devastating finish kick over the final 300 metres to finish in 1:00:06 with Robertson six seconds in arrears.
“That was really tough. I'm sore everywhere. I've never been this sore. I think it's down to a lack of training,” reflected Farah after what will probably be his last race of 2017.
"It was telling. With four miles to go, I was hanging on and gritting my teeth. I was thinking if I can just sit on him [Robertson], then at the end, I can sprint. It's nice to win my fourth time here. You get great support and I'm really enjoying myself.
“I’m so pleased with how the season has gone. I’ll go on a little holiday with the missus and then come back fresh. I’m looking forward to sticky toffee pudding and apple pie,” added Farah, who can also look back on winning the world 10,000m title in London just over a month ago.
— Great Run (@Great_Run) September 10, 2017
Farah also announced on Sunday that, having retired from the track at the end of this summer, his next major target would be the London Marathon in 2018.
He finished his track career this summer with 10 global gold medals at world championships and Olympic Games over 5000m and 10,000m. He has also won five European Athletics Championships gold medals on the track.
Kenya’s Mary Keitany won the women’s race in 1:05:59 with Great Britain’s 2014 European cross country champion Gemma Steel leading the European challenge and finishing sixth in 1:11:32.
However, the day also belonged to the thousands of runners who finished behind Farah and Keitany.
More than 43,000 people took part in the 37th running of the 5 Star Running For All event on Sunday and, as always, the field of what is often thought of as the world’s leading half marathon included many well-known TV and entertainment personalities.
The founder of the Great North Run, 1976 Olympic medallist and former world record holder Brendan Foster, was one of the first to endorse European Athletics’ Running For All initiative which aims to encourage positive partnerships and relationships between everyone involved in running – runners, clubs, organisers, European Athletics, national athletics federations, local authorities, service providers and the media.
“To be confirmed as a quality road race by European Athletics should be a goal for all road race organisers on the continent. Running activities are ever-increasing, and there is a need for a Europe-wide system that ensures runners are able to make well-informed choices when deciding on an event by ensuring its legitimacy and credibility. We are pleased to be an active supporter of Running for All,” said Foster in 2015.
His view has not changed since.