23 Oct

Mo Limits?

Mo Farah head shot after a big track win

Mo Farah’s recent victory in the Chicago Marathon was yet another monumental achievement in arguably the greatest career in British athletics history.

With four Olympic gold medals, five World Championship gold medals, seven European Championship gold medals, five Great North Run triumphs, it was already a career without parallel. And if Mo has a bucket list, it is riddled with ticks and his bucket is well and truly brimming with gold.

His victory in Chicago in a European record of 2:05:11 added to his breakthrough third place in London last year, confirmed his arrival as a global force to be reckoned with over the marathon distance. And as the achievements pile up, one word stuck with me as the praise poured down on Twitter, like it had rained on Farah in a drenched Chicago.

The word is 'range'.  It is difficult to pinpoint any athlete male or female all-time on a worldwide scale who has ever possessed the sheer running range of Mo Farah. It’s impossible in a purely domestic context, where he is British record holder over 1500m, 3000m, 5000m, 10,000m, half marathon and - of course - marathon.

It should also be remembered that Britain is not just any country when it comes to middle and long distance running either. Farah heads the legendary golden trio of Seb Coe, Steve Cram and Steve Ovett over 1500m, who defined an era, breaking the world record five times and winning four global titles between them.

Now, it’s a virtual given that a world class 5000m runner will be similarly talented at 10,000m, but for that to stretch both ways, down to 1500m and 28 times further in distance to the marathon is unprecedented. Can Farah go on to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 over the marathon? Against the formidable world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, the odds are against it. But would anyone really bet against Mo Farah, a man with seemingly nothing beyond his reach?