With victory at yesterday's Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans half marathon, Mo Farah provided one of the strongest indications yet that his eventual transition to longer distance running will prove to be a successful one. In completing the course with a time of 60:59, the double Olympic gold medallist now boasts a new national record, surpassing Nick Rose's 61:03 performance in 1985.
Farah's win, however, was far from comprehensive with Ethiopian Gebre Gebremariam pushing the UK runner throughout the 13.1 miles. In a sprint finish over the remaining 200m, Farah's speed kicked in and proved to be decisive, with Gebremariam coming home in 61:00. Even though Farah ran faster in New York in 2011 with 60:23, the time wasn't officially ratified due to the gradient of the course.
Commenting on the race and his battle with Gebremariam, Farah said: "I was really pushing it. It was definitely a fast course and had good guys pushing the pace. With about 200 metres left, I just kicked it in."
On his move from track to road-running and his participation at London marathon, he added: "Today does not necessarily mean that I am going to be amazing at it, I've got to go out there and do it. It is definitely going to be a longer race and going to be exciting. I am quite excited."
Fellow British runners Scott Overall and Helen Clitheroe also put in strong performances at the New Orleans race. Overall, in what was his first official race of 2013, took seventh place with a time of 1:04:52, while Helen Clitheroe finished fourth in the women's field in 1:11:47.