Mo Farah beats world-class 10,000m to set European record, Mosop breaks world records for 25,000m and 30,000m
If there was any doubt left over whether a British distance runner would be able to compete with the world’s best and challenge for a medal at global championships, Mo Farah dismissed such thoughts last night in Eugene with arguably the greatest distance running performance by a UK endurance athlete for quite some time.
The double European champion won the 10,000m against a loaded field at the Pre Classic – the Eugene leg of the Samsung Diamond League – and in the process smashed the European and British records, clocking 26:46.57.
While many athletes in the race were simply aiming for PBs and qualifying marks for the World Championships, Farah had stated before hand that he was aiming to break Jon Brown’s British best of 27:18.14. Friend and rival Chris Thompson had earlier in the year had a crack at breaking it, saying that he wanted to do it before Farah got his hands on it. Unfortunately for the European silver medallist, that time has now come.
Farah sat back in the earlier stages, allowing his Kenyan and Ethiopian rivals share the lead. Lucas Rotich led through 3000m (8:05.24) – at which point US record-holder Chris Solinsky dropped out – while world cross-country champion Imane Merga took the field through half way in 13:26.05.
Having been right at the back of the field for the majority of the race, it was only with 1000m remaining that Farah hit the front and – in a similar fashion to his gold medal-winning performance from the European Championships last year – he wound up the pace in the final few laps, covering the last kilometre in 2:30.72.
Merga, one of the best distance runners in the world right now, was simply unable to stick with Farah as the Brit crossed the line in 26:46.57 to break the European record by six seconds, having covered the final 3000m in 7:58 and the second 5000m in 13:20. The Ethiopian finished two seconds behind in a PB, while Kenya’s Josphat Boit also dipped under 26:50 with a PB of 26:48.99.
“I just sat at the back and worked my way through the field,” said Farah, whose previous PB was 27:28.26. “This is definitely a special track.
“It was amazing and I want to thank my coach who has worked me really hard on the Oregon Project, it’s paid off,” added Farah, who last winter moved to the USA to train with a group of leading American athletes under the watch of Alberto Salazar. “If it wasn’t for the crowd I would never have done this. With three laps to go I knew I had the chance for the record.”
And showing that he can beat the world’s best, Farah’s opponents were hardly push-overs. As well as last year’s Diamond League 5000m winner Merga, they included world silver medallist Zersenay Tadese (fifth, 26:51.09), Olympic silver medallist Sileshi Sihine (sixth, 26:52.84), 10km world record-holder Leonard Komon (ninth, 26:55.29), world junior cross-country champion Geoffrey Kipsang (10th, 27:06.35), world bronze medallist Moses Masai (11th, 27:10.05) and 2010 world cross-country champion Joseph Ebuya (15th, 27:28.20).
In arguably the greatest race of all-time in terms of depth, nine athletes broke 27 minutes – compared to the previous best of six – and best marks-for-place were set for fourth (26:50.63) through to to 19th (27:51.92). Farah’s winning time is the fastest in the world for the distance since Kenenisa Bekele’s run at the 2009 World Championships, and it puts Farah at 14th on the world all-time list. 14 of the 20 finishers set PBs.
The men’s 10,000m was one of three distance races being held on the eve of the main competition of the Pre Classic, and Farah’s performance wasn’t the only record-breaking run. In the rarely-contested track 30,000m, Kenya’s Moses Mosop ran away from the field – and indeed had lapped them several times by the end – to set a world record of 1:26:47.4. His split at 25,000m (1:12:25.0) was also a world record for that distance. The previous world records for the distances were set 30 years ago by Japan’s Toshihiko Seko at 1:13:55.8 (25,000m) and 1:29:18.8 (30,000m).
Earlier this year Mosop finished second at the Boston Marathon, clocking 2:03:06, sparking a huge debate over whether point-to-point courses should be world record-eligible. But in Eugene there was no doubting Mosop’s performance and the former world bronze 10,000m medallist is now officially – or will be once ratified – a world record-holder.
Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba was a non-starter for the women’s 5000m, but even if the Ethiopian had been present, she would have had a hard time sticking with world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, who won with a meeting record of 14:33.96.
Cheruiyot led three of her Kenyan team-mates – Linet Masai, Mercy Cherono and Sally Kipyego – under 14:40, while world cross-country bronze medallist Shalane Flanagan finished further behind in sixth, clocking 14:49.68.
You can watch a replay of Farah’s race here. The action from the Pre Classic continues today and will be shown by the BBC online and via the red button from 6-8pm.