Farah halts track career, eyes marathon at Tokyo

LONDON • Mo Farah has conceded he will almost certainly never run a track race again and said his sights are now firmly on the marathon at next year's Olympics in Tokyo.

Speaking after winning the Vitality London 10km event on Monday, the Briton admitted that while he had wanted to defend his 10,000m world title in Doha, Qatar, he had changed his mind as it was too close to the Chicago Marathon.

The biennial track and field event takes place from Sept 28 to Oct 6, with the marathon just a week later.

Farah said: "I would have loved to have won more medals for my country, as well as run Chicago, but the two events are only a week apart.

"If I did Doha, how much would it take out of me for the marathon? At the marathon, you can't give these guys an inch. If you are not on your A-game, you will get beat."

Asked if it meant that his track dream was now dead, he nodded: "I think so, at the minute."

While the 36-year-old has changed his mind before, he accepted it is increasingly unlikely he would return to the track given he last raced there in 2017.

He said: "Whenever I watch the 10,000m guys, I speak to my coach and ask, 'Do you think I could do that? Because I think I could.'

"But at the same time, you have to be smart and you have to think about not just this year but the Tokyo 2020 Olympics."

When asked directly if he was going to run the marathon in Tokyo he said: "At the minute, yeah. The strategy is to build up in the marathon. The more marathons I do, and the more experience I get, the better chance I have of a medal."

The four-time Olympic gold medallist also denied that his extraordinary row with Ethiopian running great Haile Gebrselassie last month affected his performance at the London Marathon when he finished a disappointing fifth.

He added: "To be honest, I'm kind of sick of it in a minute, but I stick by every word I said. It is the truth.

"As an athlete, you've got to put your hand up when things go well and when they don't. I felt great, it felt good. I was running 2:03 up to 35km, then, bang, I was gone. From that point, my last 7km was just 'Boom'. It won't happen again."

The Somalia-born runner was involved in a war of words with Gebrselassie after his valuables were stolen at the latter's hotel in Addis Ababa, where he had his training camp.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2019, with the headline 'Farah halts track career, eyes marathon at Tokyo'. Print Edition | Subscribe