Mo Farah’s Pre Classic wins 5K in his final race on U.S. soil

By Shawn Medow

In his final meet at Hayward Field, Mo Farah made it look easy in the 5,000 meters, winning in 13 minutes, 0.70 seconds and besting Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha and Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworwor by 0.51 seconds.

“It’s quite emotional because this is where the track started for me,” Farah said. “I wasn’t expecting to win the race—I broke the record, the British record and the European record.”

It was a hot day in Eugene during the Pre Classic, and Farah stayed strong in the pack and made his move to the front with just under three laps to go. The race stayed close until the final 100 meters, when Farah kicked ahead of Kejelcha to cross the finish line first.

“I went to the front [to] try and slow down, control, play around with the guys,” Farah said.

Farah embraced the Hayward crowd one last time with a victory lap that he said he made sure to soak in.

“I’ve been on top of my game for the last few years,” Farah said. “It’s hard obviously trying to maintain year and year but I know what to do, so I know how to pace myself in training camp: eat, sleep, train.”

He ran the 2008 London Marathon and said he has some unfinished business in the 26.2-mile event, and now plans to return to marathon running.

“I feel like I haven’t achieved what I could have achieved on the road,” Farah said.

Oregon Project teammate and training partner Galen Rupp converted to marathon running, and came third in the 2016 Olympic Marathon. But Farah said he has not spoken with the former University of Oregon athlete about turning into a marathon runner.

“We’ve just been completely different schedules,” Farah said. “Olympics is where it’s at. Every marathon is different.”

He will still stay on the track for the time being and said that doubling up with the 10,000 meters in the world championships is “looking good” after Saturday’s win.

For Farah, winning is still the target. He wants to set new personal records but plans to be realistic when gunning for world records.

“Medals are more important than anything else—no one can take that away from you,” Farah said. “Records are there to be broken, but at the same time why wouldn’t you if it’s that close to you.”

Farah laughed when asked if the 5,000-meter race is more difficult than the marathon. His 5,000 on Saturday is still something he’s not satisfied with after a slow last lap by his standards.

There were some doubts that Farah could win the race, but the recently knighted Olympic champion had a message to his critics and his fellow competitors who doubt him.

“I’m ready,” Farah said. “I like my running to do the talking.”

Shawn Medow

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