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UK Athletics

Mo's power a surprise - and boost

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When UK Athletics Chief Executive David Moorcroft launched Power of 10 last week to inspire improved performances to and beyond the London 2012 Olympic Games, he could never have dreamt that the first national record to come under threat would be his own.


But he was delighted to hear that Mo Farah (Newham and Essex Beagles) clocked 13:09.40 over 5000m at the Night of Athletics international meeting in Heusden, Belgium, on Saturday 22 July – a time that is second in the UK all-time rankings to the 13:00.41 run by Moorcroft at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway, on 7 July 1982.


The effort propels Farah from 26th in this year’s European rankings to second behind Alistair Cragg (Ireland), who clocked 13:08.97 when finishing fifth in a race in New York last month.


Farah, who is coached at the UK Athletics Endurance Performance Centre at St Mary’s University Twickenham by Alan Storey, the UKA senior performance manager for endurance, puts the improvement down to his new lifestyle – “no parties, no drinking, no silly things.”


After training with Australian record holder Craig Mottram in his preparations for the Commonwealth Games in March, Farah now shares a house in Teddington with a group of Kenyan athletes including Micah Kogo (Kenya) who won in Heusden in 13:06.49.


“You’ve got to have a social life and go out with your mates but the priority is running,” says Farah, who arrived in this country as a 13-year-old and began winning national age group titles and breaking records before he could speak a word of English. “I’m training twice every day, having massages after each one, doing some core stability exercises, a little bit of weight training – and sleeping. That’s all.


“Staying injury-free is important. And the experiences from Mottram helped me a lot. But I know I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go, especially in world terms. I hope nobody starts to hang a European Championships medal round my beck now. I never expected to get so close to David Moorcroft’s record; I only set out aiming to get under 13:20 and qualify for Gothenburg.”


In fact, he stayed with the early pace, went through 3000m in 7 minutes 59 seconds, about four seconds behind the leaders, but closed on them when they slowed slightly and made a break-away bid with about 600m to go. Only in the last 200m did the African possee get away, leaving Farah to cross the line in sixth place.


Now Farah adds: “What happens in Gothenburg just depends on the day. I may be up there with those guys now but a lot of them have much more experience than me.”


Farah will contest the 1500m at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix in London on Friday night “if my legs are OK.”

UKA Director of Athlete Development Zara Hyde Peters said it has been obvious Farah was “ready to take a step up” since he finished second to home favourite Sergio Gallardo in a tactical 3000m at the European Cup in Malaga, Spain, last month.


She added: “The reason Mo took that step at Heusden was because he was in the right sort of race. This great step forward should motivate a whole bunch of others who have come through the junior ranks to believe they can do this, too.”


  • To see how many UK athletes are hitting the targets needed for success at higher levels, go to www.powerof10.info