Mo Farah was hoping for a faster time and a better placing in London on Sunday, but he certainly did not disgrace himself in a type of race which doesn’t play to his strengths.
Eventual winner Wilson Kipsang has dismissed Farah as a threat, and while he might never run 2:03 or 2:04 for the distance, is this something which motivates Mo, who was in shape to challenge Kenenisa Bekele’s world records on the track last summer?
Winning titles is what Mo does best, and Farah showed he has the respect and the knowledge for the distance which are prerequisites at the major championships, where testing conditions reward the shrewd runners who keep their cards close to their chest.
The marathon at the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will no doubt be a race of attrition where tactics – rather than time-trialing – will play a foremost part in the outcome. Atypical conditions at the major championships have also counted against the top-ranked Kenyans and Ethiopians in the past, who have struggled to acclimatise to the hot and humid conditions at sea-level.
Farah’s race-day tactic in London was high-risk, as they weighed heavily on the lead group blowing up, but the pace settled down through halfway while Farah ended up stuck in no man’s land.
He did close in on the stragglers from the lead group in the closing stages and finished within metres of Geoffrey Mutai, the world’s fastest marathon-runner, and course record-holder Emmanuel Mutai. Stephen Kiprotich, who has humbled the Kenyans and Ethiopians at two championships in a row, was much further back.
Farah has not made any plans for the rest of the year, but one thing which he made certain was this was by no means his last marathon. He might choose to defend his track titles at the Olympic Games, but the marathon in Rio de Janeiro might be the sort of race which could play to his advantage.