Farah’s fastest

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Event

UK record

World record hype. “You can do as many long runs as you like, but you can’t train for that area af­ter 35k,” he said. “That’s un­known ter­ri­tory un­til you race it.”

When win­ning in Paris, he said Bekele “ran like a track racer. He put in a cou­ple of fast kilo­me­tres – he should not have done that. But you have to learn. He could have run faster, maybe 2:04.30. It was a great de­but. But you can’t com­pare it with guys who have run marathons from the be­gin­ning, guys who never trained for the track.

“Track run­ners take time to ad­just, be­cause they have years of speed train­ing in their legs, and the whole sys­tem has to change. I think Mo will have that same ex­pe­ri­ence. Any­thing un­der 2:07 would be great.”

The marathon duel be­tween Farah and Bekele is one Lon­don guru Dave Bed­ford an­tic­i­pated years ago. “I hope it hap­pens,” said Her­mens. “Ke­nenisa is ready for it, sooner or later.”

An­tic­i­pat­ing Haile (41 this week) in Lon­don fills me with that sense of fore­bod­ing which at­tends watch­ing a great heavy­weight cham­pion go­ing back into the ring. In his pomp, he was peer­less, with a range to match Mo. He was world in­door 1500m cham­pion 15 years ago.

How much longer can he con­tinue? “He just loves it,” says Her­mens. “The guy is ad­dicted. He will run his whole life. I can’t stop him. I’ve tried . . . the ar­gu­ments that he is such a big name and should not do this pace the race. But he pleaded: ‘I’ve set 27 world records. Many ath­letes helped pace me. Why would I not do this for them? Lon­don was never my best, be­cause of prob­lems with my lungs [asthma]. Per­haps that may be a prob­lem for Sun­day, but it is such a great marathon. I en­joy it. Let me do it’.

“So I checked with many people. Most were in favour, though some were crit­i­cal, sug­gest­ing that such a great cham­pion should not do this. But he en­joys it, likes the crowds, likes people. He never could do any­thing in Lon­don, so this is a farewell trip, I guess.” Haile aims to go to 30k, prepa­ra­tion for a tilt at the world masters record of 2:08 in Ham­burg three weeks from now.

Farah, I sus­pect, must serve his marathon ap­pren­tice­ship. He may in­deed be a world record con­tender in the long run, but not yet. What­ever he does to­mor­row, it is how he re­cov­ers that will dic­tate whether he races at the Com­mon­wealth Games in Glas­gow and/or the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships less than a fort­night later. The Kenyan pres­ence at Ham­p­den means there will be no soft ride, but he could well run the 1500m in Glas­gow and the 5000m in Zurich.

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