World record another memorable first for Olympic champion Mo Farah

English athlete shaves almost a second off world indoor two-mile record

It was the morning after the night before as Mo Farah, still beaming after breaking the world indoor two-mile record in Birmingham on Saturday, visited an old friend, the Olympic Stadium, the scene of his greatest triumph at London 2012.

The Olympic and world 5,000m and 10,000m champion was in Stratford yesterday to announce his participation in the Anniversary Games, three days of athletics at the Olympic Stadium from 24th-26th July, but he was more than happy to reflect on his first world record.

Farah, whose time of 8min 03.40sec at the Birmingham indoor grand prix was nearly a second quicker than Kenenisa Bekele’s old mark set in 2008, said: “It was awesome. We have been targeting a world record but you never know how it will go until the day.”

It was the first world record by a British male distance athlete since Peter Elliot’s 1500m indoor record in 1990, but Farah is cautious about tackling Bekele’s imposing 5,000m (12:37.35) and 10,000m (26:17.53) outdoor records this summer.


“I don’t rule it out,” he said. “But the world championships [in Beijing in August] is the priority.”

Right now Farah appears at the peak of his powers, but by the time the 2017 world championships are held in the Olympic Stadium he conceded he may have switched to the marathon.

“Having the 2017 world championships in this stadium is incredible, but I’ve just got to take one year at a time,” said Farah, who will be 32 in March.

“My dream is to see what I can do at the Olympics and then after that we will see what direction I am going to go, if I’m going to have another year on track or go towards the roads. But it would be awesome to be able to get back in that stadium in a proper championship.”

Farah also stressed the importance of British Athletics having secured a 50-year agreement to stage major athletics events every summer in the Olympic Stadium.

Flooding back

“I want to be able to bring my kids, hopefully, when we have the championship and other races and say, ‘daddy ran here’, so it’s great to know that for 50 years we are going to hold on to it.”

While Farah was becoming the first athlete to walk through the freshly renovated stadium in two years, the memories of his success at London 2012 were flooding back.

“It’s what really changed me as an athlete,” he said. “Most people dream of becoming an Olympic champion but not at home, and for me to do it twice was incredible. The 5,000m was the deepest I’ve ever dug in a race. I wanted to make history.” Guardian Service