With Sir Mo emblazoned on his race number, it was fitting Farah put in a regal performance at yesterday’s Great North Run. With a 30 second plus winning margin and a shade off his PB, Farah secured what was an unprecedented fifth consecutive victory at the South Shields event.
The world’s largest half marathon once again attracted an incredible turnout, with around 43,000 runners for the event’s 38th staging. Sunday’s field encountered bright yet warm conditions, tempered a little by a gentle breeze.
Farah began as if competing in a 5k race with a blistering start and an opening mile of 4:22. A quartet of Farah, Jake Robertson, Daniel Wanjiru and Bashir Abdi was quickly established with the leading pack interchanging positions.
Farah and Robertson reignited their duel from 2017 yet the pair looked far stronger than that race. In contrast with last year, Farah seemed far more comfortable and, after breaking from Robertson, had his sights on his PB of 59:22 as victory became inevitable.
While the PB didn’t materialise, Farah was composed as he claimed his fifth title in a time of 59:26, with Robertson coming home in 59:57 – his fastest time over 13.1 miles. Mohammud Aadan was the second Brit and seventh overall in 63:59, with Andy Vernon claiming 11th place in 65:04.
Reflecting on his performance, Farah said: "Training's different now as I'm not in the track season, I've been doing a lot more long runs and in terms of endurance I'm definitely fitter.
"Just coming into that headwind it was so tough, I wasn't going smooth, I was going up and down. I honestly thought I could beat my personal best today, but those last two miles really hurt."
In the women’s competition, Vivian Cheruiyot made it two victories in three years after an exciting, Kenyan-dominated contest. Cheruiyot clocked 67:43, nine seconds ahead of Brigid Kosgei, with Joyciline Jepkosgei third in 68:10.
Cheruiyot commented: “I am happy to be a winner today and I am looking forward to being here next year. This was preparation for New York, to test myself. I now know where I am and I am going to train for my next marathon.”
Emma Mitchell was the fastest British female in 74:37, placing her 8th, with Hayley Carruthers (74:46), Aly Dixon (75:16) and Lily Partridge (75:42) following.