We’ve long criticized Mo Farah’s competitors for not doing enough to faze the British long distance champ early in championship races, allowing him to kick his way to four previous world and Olympic titles at 10,000 meters.
Friday’s 10k final at the IAAF World Championships was a completely different story. Farah’s competition threw the kitchen sink at him – and he still prevailed.
Several men, including Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, appeared to have coordinated a scheme to trade off the early pace, passing through halfway in 13:33.74, quite fast for a championship race. There were a couple of wild surges were thrown in, including a 61 second lap just past 5k by Kenya’s Bedan Muchiri.
But ultimately it was Farah, who with 600 meters to run was right in his comfort zone – at the front and totally in control.
Though he was in a perfect position, it still wasn’t easy for Farah. He was tripped up twice on the last lap, the latter time even taking a step off the track to control his balance. Despite all that, Farah maintained his composure and held off a challenge from Paul Tanui on the backstretch.
With 100 meters to go, Farah had three others within striking distance, but it was quickly evident he had plenty of gas left to easily outkick his competitors for yet another global 10,000 meter title.
The fast early pace paid off for a string of fast marks. The winning time of 26:49.51 was the fastest for a Farah championship win. Behind him were a host of PR’s. Mo Ahmed set a new Canadian record of 27:02.35, and all three American competitors Shadrack Kipchirchir, Leonard Korir and Hassan Mead set personal bests.