The multiple global gold medallist delights the London crowds with a winning performance in his last race ahead of the World Championships
Britain’s endurance athletes had a great major competitive sign-off for the IAAF World Championships in London but it was the multiple global champion Sir Mo Farah who gained the majority of the attention at Sunday’s Müller Anniversary Games.
In a week when Farah’s name has been in the headlines for reasons other than his performances on the track thanks to the Fancy Bears, his final London Anniversary Games appearance saw a predictable 3000m victory.
While the Briton did not show much interest in chasing a record, he did demonstrate the sort of finishing speed that could guarantee two more global golds next month and his run excited the home crowd.
“There’s no place like home,” he said. “This is home, this is where my life changed, this is where I made my name. The people make it for me.
“The preparation is going well, I’m grafting and continuing to tick boxes,” he added, looking ahead to the Worlds. “Initially I was going to try and fit a 1500m race in between now and the World Championships, but this is my last race now.”
Adam Clarke had set a good pace up front with a 2:32.65 opening kilometre as Farah languished back outside the top 10 and the pace slowed mid race as Clarke dropped out and Farah advanced.
Andrew Butchart shot ahead at 2000m in 5:10.02 and pushed which stretched the field out but Farah kicked ahead at the bell.
While he was briefly challenged by European silver medallist Adel Mechaal, Farah’s 26.8 last 200m saw him ease away for a clear one-second victory in 7:35.15.
His last 800m was 1:54.3 and his last lap was 55.3.
Mechaal was second in 7:36.32, while Butchart’s reward was a Scottish record 7:37.56 in third place to move him up to fifth all-time in the UK.
Nick Goolab (7:42.22) and Marc Scott (7:43.37) also smashed their PBs in 11th and 12th respectively.
“I’m over the moon with that performance and the stadium was incredible,” said Butchart. “Mo was coaching me mid-race and giving me advice on what to do, and I felt really good.
“I had so much fun out there,” he added. “It was a good rehearsal for the World Championships. Today gave me a lot of confidence and I have a lot of self-belief I can do really well in London.”
» See the July 13 edition of AW magazine for eight pages of reports, pictures and results from the Müller Anniversary Games