(From left) Elite athletes Abdi Abirahman, Gemma Steele, Mo Farah, Arne Gabius and Michael Shelley at the press conference for Ooredoo Doha Marathon yesterday. PICTURE: Ram Chand
Britain’s Mo Farah signs autographs during a promotional event in Doha yesterday. (Twitter/Ooredoo)
British long-distance star may have left the track behind but the 34-year-old is gunning for glory in marathons
Four Olympic gold medals, six world titles and he is not done yet.
He is an athlete who personifies the adage, ‘no pain, no gain’. In fact, he loves pain.
“I am still competing because I loooove pain,” retired track star Mo Farah stretched a few syllables to amplify what he felt, while talking ahead of his participation in the elite Half Marathon event in the Ooredoo Doha Marathon yesterday.
“As an athlete, as a young boy I dreamt of becoming an Olympic champion and I remember taking part in as many races I could. I think it was 2000 Sydney Olympics, I had seen Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrselassie compete and that’s when I told myself that I want to win an Olympic gold medal, and since then I have been training hard, and going on and on.
“And it happened in 2012, and what a way for it to happen. That carried me every day. It felt amazing, it felt beautiful. It’s something I enjoy. And once you have gone through it, you can’t just sit after that. I definitely enjoy going for a run, pulling myself through pain, crazy sessions,” said Farah, who is taking part in his first event of the year at the Ooredoo Doha Marathon.
“And there will be more crazy sessions coming through in case of a marathon. I like to be able to work and work. Just hearing the national anthem, it is a proud moment. It could well all depend on whether one morning I ask myself if I want to go through all this, but that my body decides,” the British athlete, who announced his intention to focus on the marathon in 2017, said.
Farah completed the ‘distance double’ of 5,000m and 10,000m titles at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships. He was only the second man in history after Kenenisa Bekele to win long-distance doubles at successive Olympics and World Championships, and first in history to defend both distance titles in both major global competitions – a feat described as the ‘quadruple-double’.
Since finishing second in the 10,000m at the 2011 World Athletics Championships, Farah had an unbroken streak of ten global finals wins (the 5,000m in 2011, the 10,000m in 2017 and the double in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016). The streak finally ended in Farah’s final World Championship track race, when he finished second to Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris in the 2017 5,000m final. However, in his final track race, the inaugural 2017 Diamond League Final in Zurich, he beat Edris for a 5,000m victory.
After 10 global golds over 5,000 and 10,000m in the space of seven incredible years, the 34-year-old’s track exploits have already earned him a knighthood, but he still has unfinished business.
He is taking part in the Doha marathon event for the first time with an eye on the London Marathon and Tokyo Olympics for a possible fifth Olympic title.
Doha race will be the 34-year-old’s first race of 2018 as he prepares for the London Marathon on April 22 where he will take on Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge.
“I am really looking forward to opening my 2018 season in Doha. I am taking the event as a chance to test myself on the fast and flat run along Doha, and also to hopefully check out the city,” Britain’s most successful-ever distance runner said.
Farah also said a fourth Olympic Games appearance in 2020 is a distinct possibility. “Tokyo is possible. If I’m in great shape and I’m good enough to get a medal I will be there,” he said.
Given his incredible journey so far it should not be out of question.