There is not often much to say about British men’s distance running in major championships, but we’re spoiled for choice this year. The undoubted highlight has been Mo Farah’s 5,000 / 10,000 double.
It’s rare for Brendan Foster to say anything worth hearing but he made a good point last night when he said Mo Farah should enjoy this success for its own sake before thinking about World and Olympic medals.
Farah’s run in the 5,000m was amazing to watch. As he tore the field apart with a 2:25 last kilometre it was hard to suppress thoughts of a medal in Daegu next year or in London in 2012.
This probably means that anything less than a medal in next year’s World Championships will be viewed as failure. Is this realistic?
Here are the winning times, and last kilometre splits for the last 3 global 5,000m championships:
A 2:25 last kilometre is in the right ball park, but in Berlin three runners managed that in a faster race than in Barcelona. In Beijing a 2:34 last kilometre was enough to get bronze but, for it to count, Farah would have had to run within a second of his personal best in a race which had started with a slow (2:45) first kilometre.
Osaka was the most comparable race to Barcelona but in fact Farah ran a 2:25 last kilometre there and ‘only’ came 6th.
Farah still seems to be improving, and he had already run the 10,000m this week, but it’s worth remembering just how hard global medals are to win!