Athletics

Farah ready for full marathon

Mo Farah (AFP)
Mo Farah (AFP)
London - Mo Farah had only just been draped in a Union Jack on the New York half-marathon finish line when he lost consciousness and collapsed on the chilly road.

A month after being taken away in a wheelchair, Farah is preparing to race again London on Sunday after shrugging off the health scare that appeared to jeopardize his much-anticipated full marathon debut.

"My coach Alberto Salazar, who has been there and done that, was just telling me, 'Get up Mo, stop faking it,'" Farah recalled Tuesday. "I'm fine but I'm glad something happened in New York rather than here ... it was just a lack of energy really."

The British public only knows Farah the champion, establishing himself as one of the nation's track and field greats by winning the 5 000 and 10 000m at the 2012 London Olympics.

Now the 31-year-old Farah is facing the biggest test of his career, fresh from a high-altitude training camp in Kenya.

"It's gone reasonably well, it doesn't always go smooth," Farah said. "There have been a few hiccups."

But nothing major, he said, reassuringly for the thousands preparing to line the 26.2-mile route in the British capital on Sunday. Last year they only got to see Farah running the first half of the marathon as he acquainted himself with the course.

Although Farah finished second in freezing New York last month behind Geoffrey Mutai, the gruelling experience served as a reminder just how challenging going the full distance will be — especially with such a strong field awaiting in London.

It will be no serene introduction to the marathon, with Farah lining up alongside world-record holder Wilson Kipsang, reigning London champion Tsegaye Kebede, course record holder Emmanuel Mutai, and Olympic and world champion Stephen Kiprotich.

"It would be nice to just go out there and not think about anything apart from time," Farah said. "But I'm going in straight at the deep end. That's what champions do. You don't get the easy way."

It could be Farah's only shot at the London Marathon, with another lucrative deal yet to be agreed for him to return next year.

"There's been no negotiating or anything," Farah said.

Win, though, on Sunday, and Farah could be able to name his price.

"I've achieved a lot on the track but I want to test myself and it will be a big test on Sunday," Farah said.

"Every race you go through is a risk. You achieve a lot and you want to win, but you aren't going to be guaranteed to win ... it makes me more of a champion for going out there and going straight in."

Kenenisa Bekele, who preceded Farah as Olympic champion over 5 000 and 10 000m, won on his marathon debut in Paris on Sunday.

"It gives me gives confidence if Bekele can do it, then why can I not do it?" Farah asked.

Fortunately for Farah, the Ethiopian won't be competing in London.
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