DUBAI (Reuters) - Mo Farah has unfinished business with the marathon but accepts it will take time to master the distance when he steps away from the track after next season’s world championships.
Farah’s back-to-back Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 meters gold medals and five world titles make him one of the greatest distance runners of all time.
The Briton plans to bow out after the world championships in London next year and will then turn his attention to the roads.
Farah ran a relatively disappointing 2 hours, eight minutes and 21 seconds in his only marathon, in London in 2014.
That time, still behind Steve Jones’s 1985 British record of 2:07.13, is almost six minutes outside Dennis Kimetto’s 2:02.57 world record and considerably slower than the times being run by the leading Africans to win the big-money Marathon Majors.
“I do have a lot of plans to run the marathon,” Farah told Reuters on Monday. “My aim is to get the world champs out of the way then see what I can do on the road.
“I believe I have to learn about the event, I have to understand what it takes.
“I’m good on the track but it’s taken me years to be able to get there. And same thing on the road.
“My first marathon was two hours eight, it was okay but it wasn’t great. To be able to mix with the guys I’ll need to run a lot faster than that.”
By the time Farah, now 33, does turn his attention to the classic distance he might find that 2.02 is no longer enough.
Talk of a sub-two hour marathon has been a staple among athletics fans for years but gained new impetus last week with Nike’s announcement of its “Breaking2” project for a focused attack on the mark, albeit in a controlled environment somewhat at odds with the traditional road race format.
Farah, a Nike ambassador, said he was intrigued to see what they might achieve.
“It’s good in a way to see what they can do and that they’re looking that far ahead because I believe that if you do get ready for it, it’s possible,” he said.
“I don’t know how long it will take - a year, two years, three years, but if you try hard then it’s possible and it’s great that Nike have put a massive investment into it and let’s see what they can do.”
Writing in London by Mitch Phillips, Editing by Ed Osmond