Mo Farah has won his first marathon in Chicago on only his third attempt at the style of competition. The four-time Olympic gold medalist quit the track over a year ago to pursue road racing and it has paid off. The athlete finished eighth in his first marathon in London in 2014, then third on his second attempt. Now, third time has proven to be the charm as he came in first position.
The new challenge of the road does not seem to pose much of a threat to the athlete
Despite the wet conditions, Mo Farah set a European record by finishing in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 5 seconds, 13 seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Mosinet Geremew Bayih. This is the first time that a British athlete has won the event in 22 years. At the tender age of 35, Mo Farah seems to only be getting better and better as an athlete.
Having conquered the track’s 5000m and 10,000m races, age is just another number that Farah seems to have overcome. The new challenge of the road does not seem to pose much of a threat to the athlete who covered 26.2 miles through 29 neighbourhoods on foot among an audience of around 1.7 million people. A record 44,571 runners finished the 41-year-old Bank of America Chicago Marathon, with Mo Farah in the lead. The champion athlete draws a lot of attention to the sport and we should not expect him to go anywhere any time soon.
It could be said that Farah was rather lucky that Kipchoge was not competing in Chicago
In fact, the British runner now seems to have the Tokyo 2020 Olympic marathon in his sights. Farah said in an interview with the BBC in April of this year, “my aim is to be able to run as many marathons as I can” and, early this October, he declared his intention to run in 2020; as he was quoted saying, “I am definitely going to Tokyo. I know from my training that I am definitely capable of getting a medal”. By that time, he will be 37 years old and, incredibly, still someone to keep an eye on.
Sir Mo’s victory has perhaps taken some of the shine off of his great competitors, with Eliud Kipchoge being at the top of that list. The Kenyan marathon runner has won ten of the eleven marathons he has entered, nine of which were consecutive victories. Kipchoge won the 2018 London marathon in which Farah finished third; it could be said that Farah was rather lucky that Kipchoge was not competing in Chicago. As the current Olympic champion, Kipchoge is the man that Farah will have to watch out for.
Farah should have less time to run competitively and will soon have to start winding down
That being said, Mo Farah has already proven a great deal. He has only ran three marathons and has managed to claim a gold medal. He is not on Kipchoge’s level yet- Kipchoge only just set a new world marathon record this September in Berlin. However, there is no reason why Farah can not be at that level in the future. He is two years older than Kipchoge, which means he should have less time to run competitively and will soon have to start winding down. However, Mo Farah has shown no signs of this being a problem so far.
There are clearly no limits to what athletes can achieve. We have seen Usain Bolt, the world’s best sprinter, move off the track and onto the football pitch. Usain Bolt now plays for the Australian football club Central Coast Mariners and scored two goals for them on his debut. After such a successful running career, he still followed his passion for football. Therefore, there is no reason not to believe in Mo Farah and his slight shift from track racing to marathon running. This is the knighted long-distance runner’s new passion, and he is clearly putting in a lot of work in order to be successful at it.