Sir Mo Farah says that turning his attention to running marathons has helped get his mojo back.
The four-time Olympic champion, one of Great Britain’s most decorated athletes, turned his back on the track after the 2017 World Championships to concentrate on long-distance road running.
It did not take him long to make a mark as he took the British record by finishing third in last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon and then claimed the European record in winning in Chicago in October.
He has his sights set on winning this Sunday’s race in London, though knows he will have to run the race of his life with world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge leading a stellar field.
At least Farah’s battle on Sunday will be solely on the 26.2 miles of the capital’s streets, having had the final few days of his preparation dominated by an extraordinary feud with Haile Gebrselassie, which has seen the pair publicly swap accusations about events at the Ethiopian’s hotel.
Farah says that running marathons has revitalised him.
“I am happy and I am enjoying it,” he said. “I am still waking up in the morning hungry and when I moved on from the track I feel like I am more hungry.
“When I turned up to the track and you are winning so many times you get used to it, I don’t have that. I feel like I have got my mojo back.
“I am fit, I have done some great training over the last three months. I am still learning, you only learn from races, the more races you run the more you learn.
“If you run elite races sometimes you learn quicker and I learned a lot from last year and from Chicago.”
Farah will be able to draw on his experience of last year’s race, where he was in contention until the searing heat in the capital’s hottest ever marathon took its toll and he was unable to keep pace with winner Kipchoge and runner-up Tola Shura Kitata.
“At 20 miles it was where Eliud slightly increased his pace and I tried to go with it,” Farah recalled.
“And at that point I went with it a little bit and I felt a little bit tired and it hurt and in my mind it felt like I couldn’t keep that going and I knew I wouldn’t finish if I kept that going.
“So I took it back a notch and just followed it through. Every athlete will go through that. The work you do gets you through it. I was thinking I needed to get through it and I did.”
The build-up to the race was further overshadowed on Friday by the announcement that Kenya’s half marathon world record holder Abraham Kiptum had been suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit following a biological passport violation and would not compete.
The 29-year-old, who ran 58 minutes 18 seconds to win last year’s Valencia Half Marathon, has left London.
London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher said in a statement: “We have a zero-tolerance policy on doping. London is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and we recently announced a groundbreaking extensive intelligence-driven testing programme. This shows the programme is working. Cheats will be caught and there is no place for them in marathon running.”