Double world and Olympic champion to return to road action on May 25 following his marathon debut in London in April
Mo Farah is to go for his sixth consecutive Bupa London 10,000 title on May 25, as organisers also confirm he is to be the official starter for the senior men’s and women’s races at the Bupa Westminster Mile event the day before.
Following his starting duties on the Saturday, the double world and Olympic champion will also join young athletes in running the boys’ under-11 and under-13 London Borough Challenge races, before he returns to the streets of the capital to contest the 10km event the following day. It will be his first race since making his debut over 26.2 miles at the Virgin Money London Marathon last month.
Around 5500 runners are expected to be involved in 30 one-mile races on the roads around St James’s Park in central London at the Westminster event which comes just over two weeks after the 60th anniversary of Roger Bannister’s first event sub-four-minute mile at Oxford’s Iffley Road track.
Bannister himself is patron of the London Marathon-organised event, with the winner of the senior men’s race be be awarded the newly-commissioned Sir Roger Bannister trophy. The senior women will compete for the Diane Leather trophy, named after the first woman to run a sub-five-minute mile, also 60 years ago. Leather, now Diane Charles, ran 4:59.6 at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium just three weeks after Bannister’s famous feat.
The Westminster Mile programme includes mile races for children, families and adults, and also features the British Athletics One-Mile Road Championships for runners in a range of age groups, including seniors, juniors and wheelchair athletes.
Among those competing will be six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir who hopes to become the first wheelchair racer in history to break the three-minute barrier for the mile at the London event.
“It’s a huge challenge but I think, given the right conditions, a sub-three-minute mile is possible,” said Weir. “My PB for the mile on the track is 3:16 so I need a big improvement on that. But racing on the open road rather than having to contend with the tight bends of the track will be a big help.”
Andy Baddeley is set to be the man to beat in the senior men’s race, while the senior women’s event is set to feature 2009 world 1500m silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey, 2008 world junior 1500m champion Steph Twell and double Olympic finalist Julia Bleasdale.
Joining Farah in the Bupa London 10,000 is Chris Thompson. Both athletes made their marathon debuts in London last month, with Farah breaking the English record with 2:08:21 and Thompson clocking 2:11:19.
It was at the 2010 London 10,000 event that Farah set the British record for the distance with 27:44.
Bupa Westminster Mile races get underway at 9:30 on Saturday May 24, while the Bupa London 10,000 starts at 10:00 on Sunday May 25.