© Copyright – 2011 – Athletics Illustrated
Mo Farah is currently Great Britain’s most prolific distance runner. He owns six national distance records, which range from 3000m indoors to the half-marathon. He 5000m is also a European record at 12:57.
Farah won his first major title at the European Junior Championships in 2001. In the 5000m event, he finished sixth in the 2007 World Athletics Championships. In cross-country, in December 2006, he became the European champion. Farah took gold in the 3000m event in both the 2009 and 2011 European Indoor Championships, which took place in Turin and Paris, respectively.
He recently won the New York City Half Marathon, in a brilliant debut, beating Gebre Gebremariam by two seconds in a sprint finish, clocking a 60:23.
“It was a great race,” Farah said. “Me and Galen (Rupp) worked together but it came down to a sprint finish. The crowd made a big difference and it was really exciting. We knew Gebremariam had a big finish so we worked hard, but we still could not get rid of him. I felt all right with 400m to go and just went for it.”
Farah recently moved his family from Great Britain to the United States, to train with Alberto Salazar’s group in Portland Oregon.
Christopher Kelsall: How has the transition gone, moving to Oregon and to the new group with Alberto Salazar?
Mo Farah: It’s gone really well. So far, so good! My family and I have settled in nicely and the group have welcomed us in.
CK: Was the move to Oregon specifically or solely about a move up in distance to the marathon?
MF: No – my decision to move to Oregon was solely based on being coached by Alberto Salazar and to make use of the excellent facilities here.
CK: Is your football team still Arsenal?
MF: Oh yes – Always!
CK: Being seven points back (at the time of this writing) of Manchester, is the League title out of reach?
MF: It’s never out of reach. I still believe we can pull it back.
CK: Did you watch the scoreless game against the short-manned Gunners?
MF: Yes, I watched that one at home and was gutted! I thought we had it but it wasn’t meant to be.
Back to Running
CK: Your 12:57 5000m, points to a sub-27 10,000m. Also, you currently own six British records for 5000m and 3000m, 10k and half-marathon distances. Two major British records are left one of which is Jon Brown’s 10,000m which is 27:18. Are you aiming for that record this season?
MF: It would be nice and I would love to break to 10,000m record this year but we’ll have to see what happens. My main focus this year is the World Championships in Daegu. In the last two World Champs I finished 6th and 7th, so my aim is to improve on that before I look at breaking records. Yes, I hope to do it at some point in the not too distant future, but I do not have immediate plans for it.
CK: When you ran the British record time of 7:34.47 for 3000m at the Avia UK Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham, you attributed this excellent performance to your spell of winter training in East Africa. This winter, before moving to Oregon, did you spend any time at altitude?
MF: I spent six weeks in Kenya in November and December last year to get a solid block of training done before the cross-country and indoor season.
CK: What do you attribute to your very good range in distances from 800m (1:48) to the half marathon (60:23)? Is it about the volume in the offseason and how about your activity level as a kid?
MF: I’ve always had natural speed and in addition to that, I train hard at the endurance part. As a kid, I was very active by playing football and just running around in general!
CK: What does a typical off-season training week look like for you? How much volume are you running in the winter?
MF: During the off-season, I take plenty of rest but will still run every day to keep the legs ticking and will occasionally go to the gym. During the winter, the number of miles I run per week is rarely the same each year as it’ll depend on when my next race is and what the coach advises me to do.
CK: Do you consider your 5000m 12:57 your best race performance?
MF: It was great to break the 13-minute barrier as it stood as a British record for 28 years and was also a World record at the time it was set, however, my best race performance was the 5000m in Barcelona.
Ed’s note: Farah kicked away from rivals Jesus Espana, the defending champion from Spain, and Hayle Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan, to double as European Champion in both the 10,000m and 5000m distances, July 27th and 31st respectively. Farah won the first-ever long-distance double for Great Britain and the first at those championships since 1990. His times were 28:24 and 13:31.