© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated
Mo Farah will be running the London Marathon in two weeks’ time and it will be the finale of his career. Although caught in a new era of marathon running he may have missed the opportunity to dominate the event. He ran the marathon as well as he ran the 5000 metre and 10,000m distances, but along came Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele and others. Farah, perhaps moved to the marathon a little late in his career. The four-time Olympic champion owns a 2:05:11 best from the 2018 running of the Chicago Marathon. The performance stands as the British record.
The 40-year-old master finished in seventh place in a road race on Saturday in the Port-Gentil 10km finishing in the time of 30:41. Port Gentil is a coastal town in Gabon. He has been training in Ethiopia in preparation for his final London appearance. There is a likelihood that he is starting his marathon taper, and therefore stood at the start with training fatigue in his legs.
Port-Gentil's 10 km is Africa's fastest race and also a great popular sports event.— Ali Bongo Ondimba (@PresidentABO) April 8, 2023
We thank the huge champion @Mo_Farah and the other 13,000 participants for having honored us of their presence.
Special thanks to all the youth who have attended the Kids Run. #WeRunGabon #Gabon pic.twitter.com/TNWzvfMuoG
Kenya’s Vincent Kipkemoi won the race in the time of 28:11.
At London, Farah won’t be the only fast 40-year-old. Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele is going to toe the line. Bekele has run as fast as 2:01:41 in Berlin in 2019. The performance was two seconds off Kenyan world record holder Kipchoge’s 2:01:39 and was run in poorer weather, perhaps also a missed opportunity. Kipchoge has gone on to improve the record to 2:01:09. Bekele holds three national records in the 5000m, 10,000m and marathon.
Like Farah, he may have changed to the marathon a little late in his career. By the time he moved up, he was a two-time world record holder (5000m, 10,000m) and had won 11 World Cross Country championships, doubling by running the short course and the long course for five consecutive years to earn gold in both. There was also a sixth where he earned gold and silver. Prior to the super shoes era, Bekele ran the 5000m in 12:37.35 and the 10,000m in 26:17.53. On the way, he earned three Olympic gold medals and five World Championships gold medals.
Farah did not run quite as fast as Bekele, but he did make the most of racing championship events with his four Olympic and six World Championships gold medal performances in the 5000m and 10,000m distances.
It is expected to be the Briton’s and Ethiopian’s final London Marathon appearance and they will be up against a handful of the fastest marathon runners in history. The only one missing will be Kipchoge, who is looking to complete his Marathon Majors cycle and be the only athlete to win all six Marathon Majors events at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17.
Missing during the Kipchoge era was the possibility of a head-to-head showdown against Bekele in the marathon.