Mo Farah celebrates his victory in Brussels CREDIT: Stephanie Leccoq/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
It is certainly an obscure event – of that there can be no doubt – but after a 20-year international career, Mo Farah can finally call himself a world-record holder. To a list containing such legendary figures as Paavo Nurmi, Emil Zatopek, Ron Clarke and Haile Gebrselassie, Farah can now add his own name as the 12th man to hold the one-hour world record.
That Farah is rarely mentioned among the all-time distance greats in spite of his four Olympic and six world titles is precisely due to his lack of world records. Where Gebrselassie set 27 during his career, Farah had never achieved one until now. By managing 21,330 metres in Brussels on Friday night – adding 45m to the mark Gebrselassie set in 2007 – that career-long drought is now over.
The prevailing thought beforehand was that Farah would have little trouble bettering Gebrselassie’s distance, which was deemed something of a “soft” record to surpass. Things did not prove as effortless as many had predicted. With three of the four pacemakers falling by the wayside early, Farah had just one to sit behind and only Belgium’s Bashir Abdi for company from 20 minutes in.
By halfway, Farah was 10 metres down on world record pace and when the final pacemaker soon dropped out it was down to him. As alarm bells began to ring, a message appeared to be relayed to Farah from support personnel on the track and the deficit to the world record hologram superimposed onto the screen for the benefit of television viewers shrunk.
Abdi enjoyed a brief stint in the lead – enough to claim another obscure world record over 20,000m – but when the gun went to signal the final minute of running, Farah did what he has done so many times in his career and seared his way into the night to not only triumph, but this time to add his name to the record books.
“That’s incredible,” he said. “I’m very happy to break the world record.
“What an amazing way to do it and show people what is possible. I feel tired, but in the middle part of the race I had to work hard. It’s nice to break a world record. Farah was not the only athlete to reach unchartered territory in Brussels, with Sifan Hassan continuing to show her unrivalled range by also smashing the women’s one-hour mark.
The Dutchwoman last year completed an unprecedented 1,500m and 10,000m world double, and showed she is just as capable at longer distances, managing 18,930m to add more than 400m – an entire lap of the track – onto Dire Tune’s 12-year-old mark. At a British Championships in Manchester notable for its lack of star names, Harry Coppell catapulted himself into the global reckoning by setting a national record in the pole vault.
Despite not being on British Athletics funding, Coppell – who had wrapped up gold with his very first jump of 5.42m – soared over 5.85m at the third attempt to continue a season of drastic improvement.
Source: The Daily Telegraph