Champion desperate to hit ‘the perfect note’ and land yet another double as he prepares to bid farewell to the track
And now, the end is near, and so Mo Farah is about to face his final curtain when it comes to global track racing.
Saturday evening’s IAAF World Championships 5000m final will be his swansong on a stage where he has done things his way and, to lean on the Frank Sinatra metaphor a little further, the 34-year-old would dearly love to bow out on ‘the perfect note’ before he turns his attention fully towards hitting the roads.
Farah is going for a third consecutive world championships double and with the first part of the 2017 job done – thanks to a 10,000m win on the opening night of these championships that will live long in the memory – expectation and emotion will hang thick in the London air when he steps into the spotlight.
He knows all too well, however, that getting things pitch perfect will be far from straightforward.
“I want to leave on a high because that’s the perfect note,” says the four-time Olympic champion who will be going for his 11th consecutive global gold medal. “But it isn’t going to be easy in the 5km.
“There are a lot more decisions to be made in a shorter race. In the 10km you’ve got 25 laps so you can relax a little bit if you’re further back to make that decision and work around. In the 5km, if you’re not there at a certain point, or if someone’s going to do something and you’re not there, that’s it – it’s gone.
“It ain’t easy. You’ve seen that with Usain Bolt. It would have been nice to see him win but it doesn’t just happen. No-one is going to give it to you, no matter who you are. It would be pretty amazing to bow out with another double gold but these guys are coming for me.”
The Ethiopian challenge, from the likes of world-leading Muktar Edris and Selemon Barega, will be strong while America’s Olympic silver medallist Paul Chelimo may have had an uncomfortable heat in which he was tripped but it didn’t stop him securing his final place.
The American crossed the line in that race alongside Andrew Butchart, a man whose profile continues to grow.
“We have got to know each other a little bit, we did a couple of runs together in Font Romeu,” says Farah of his British team-mate. “We have a lot of guys who believe in themselves now and he is one of them. He will give you 110 per cent, come out on the line and he is going to try his best.
“It is going to be tough for him to medal – I personally think that – but if the race is run how it suits him then there is a good chance.”
However the race is run and whoever ends up on the podium, Farah has allowed himself the time to reflect a little on his decorated career over these past few days.
He will race at the Alexander Stadium during the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham on August 20 and then in Zurich but, when it comes to the major championships, this is it.
“Yeah it is emotional but it has been long, a long career,” he adds. “You guys have seen me since I was a child, running around, going to the English Schools. To come this far has been incredible.
“I think I’m a very lucky person in life. I have a gift that not many people have – to be able to know who I was and where I came from as a youngster. To have achieved what I have achieved has been incredible.
“I don’t think there’s enough words to explain the journey and everything. But you have to appreciate what you have and do the best that I can. That’s what I was taught in my early years. Appreciate it.”