Mo Farah will return to run the London Marathon in October after finally calling time on his track career. The 39-year-old athlete’s decision to stick to the roads had been widely expected after he endured a shock defeat by a club runner, Ellis Cross, in the Vitality London 10,000 race in May and then did not attempt to qualify for the world championships in Eugene this month.
However, while Farah concedes he is no longer the athlete he was, he says he will not contemplate retirement until after he runs in London’s Big Half in September and the London Marathon a month later.
“I am getting on a bit,” Farah said. “But do I still have the hunger, am I willing to put in the work and the miles? Yes. I’ve been putting in consistent mileage and I still have that fight in me. Until you lose it I don’t think I should think about retiring.
“But being realistic, can your body do this? I’ve watched tennis and Andy Murray, the guy still has that fight in him but his body doesn’t allow him. So I’m planning two races at the minute and then go back and see where I am. Can my body compete with these guys at this level? That’s the question which will come afterwards.”
Pressed on whether he would take advice on retirement from his coach, Gary Lough, or his wife, Tania, Farah said: “That decision can only come down from me, not my manager, not my wife or my kids. It’s me who is putting in the work week in, week out. There will be a time, but I don’t even know myself.
“I am doing good sessions but it’s not what I was doing right before championships. That’s one of the reasons you want to come back. I’m still doing sessions normal people can’t do. You still feel like you’ve still got it.”
Farah admitted he was disappointed not to be able to run this month at the world championships in Oregon, not far from where he trained with his former coach Alberto Salazar from 2010 to 2017.
“As an athlete you love to compete,” he said. “But again you’ve got to be realistic. You’ve done the world champs, you’ve won medals, are you just going there just to make numbers? It’s not easy. You’ve got to be competitive enough to run the last 1k in under 2.25. Am I capable of that? Anyone can run 27 minutes but can you run 26.40, 26.35? I think that’s what it’s going to take to win world champs.”
Asked whether it meant his track career was over, he said: “Yeah, hands up! No, I’m not going back to the track. This is it. I love to be competitive with others, it’s the reason I’m not going to the world champs or Europeans.
“If I can’t be competitive with these guys, there’s no point in going and making up the team. I’ll give it my all at the London Marathon and see what happens.”