Two-time double-Olympic champion Mo Farah opens his final track campaign on Thursday night with the 1,500 meters at the USATF Distance Classic at Occidental College.
The last time that Farah raced this distance at Oxy was a very thrilling and loaded race back in 2012. Coming down the final stretch, it was anyone’s race. Farah and Rupp went 1-2, just a harbinger of things that would come in the 10,000 meters at the Summer Games in London. Farah’s winning time was 3:34.66 but only .09 and .12 seconds separated him from Rupp and Robby Andrews.
Farah actually hasn’t won a 1,500 meter race since then. (He’ll also have his hands full on Thursday with Olympic champion and training partner Matthew Centrowitz running his first outdoor 1,500 race since Rio.) To be fair, his focus has primarily been the 5,000 and 10,000 meters but when he’s hopped into the 1,500, he’s had his hands full with the likes of Asbel Kiprop. He lowered his personal best to 3:28.81 from a second place finish to Kipop at the 2013 Monaco Diamond League meet.
His return to the track comes at an interesting time because it’s just weeks after Eliud Kipchoge clocked that 2:00:25 marathon in Nike’s Breaking 2 attempt and the goat emoji was smashed. Farah has always been in the mix for the GOAT conversation because of his gold medals but the case against him tends to be that he doesn’t own any outdoor world records. He’s a master tactician and heading into his final year, his biggest supporters for that GOAT conversation are hoping to see a world record to solidify his case.
It’s doubtful that happens this year.
The best case for Farah to be considered the greatest of all-time could be when he starts hitting the roads and winning major marathons and possibly adding marathon gold in Tokyo. Running the fastest marathon ever may have gotten tougher. Bekele’s world records at 5,000 and 10,000 meters appear to be safe.
This will be a victory lap for Farah. He’ll collect some checks with the Anniversary Games in July. We’ll soon learn more about his fitness but barring any major injury, he could head into London to add his 10th and 11th global titles.