Event director Hugh Brasher believes Briton can break European record if he chooses to race in the British capital next year
London Marathon organisers say they would love Mo Farah to return to their race next year and the event director Hugh Brasher believes the multiple global track champion can beat the European record over 26.2 miles despite his age and underpar form in 2021.
Farah’s best time is 2:05:11, whereas the European record is held by Kaan Kigen Özbilen of Turkey with 2:04:16.
Farah achieved his PB when winning the Chicago Marathon three years ago but he will be 39 during the London Marathon on October 2 next year. He is also currently returning from a stress fracture after failing to qualify for the 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympics this year.
“We would love Mo to come,” said Brasher. “He is Britain’s greatest endurance athlete ever in terms of what he’s done, ranging from the 2011 World Championships and London 2012 to 2017 through to running a British record on this (London) course.”
When Farah first completed the London Marathon it was a painful experience as he finished eighth in 2:08:21. But after putting that early marker down he returned in 2018 to improve to 2:06:21 in third place and then 2:05:39 for fifth in 2019.
Farah also has a soft spot for the event after growing up as a young runner in London and winning the Mini Marathon three times.
Some felt Farah might retire after not making the Tokyo Olympics but he was talking instead about finding a big event to enjoy one last hurrah. Brasher believes Farah could run the Great North Run on September 11 next year as preparation for the London Marathon a few weeks later.
“If he ran the Great North Run and then the London Marathon it’d be great preparation,” said Brasher. “Absolutely those conversations will be going on (to sign him for the race) but it won’t be our choice, it’ll be his choice.
“The crowds we had in 2014 when he ran the full marathon for the first time were the biggest crowds we’d ever seen so we’d love to see that again. We’d love to have him back.”
On the European record, Brasher enthused: “I believe he absolutely can do it. He’s run 3:28 for 1500m and sub-27 minutes for 10,000m. He can without doubt break that European marathon record. He might be getting older but, as we are seeing increasingly, age is no barrier these days.”
Farah stated his ambition to enjoy one big farewell racing appearance during an interview in July, saying: “I think it will be a marathon or half marathon … I want to be out there celebrating with my fans.
“I want to show people who have supported me through my career from being a young child. And so if I’m going to do one race then I’d like to get everyone out and show the appreciation and show what I can do.”
If Farah does return to the capital, he will not find it easy. Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia ran 2:04:01 to win this year’s race as three men finished inside 2:05.
In total, there were 35,871 finishers with 22,342 people completing the virtual marathon around the world. Altogether the event was shown on television in 198 countries and Brasher described it as “a triumph of positivity, togetherness and community spirit”.
He added: “The emotion felt by the runners and spectators is what we’ve all so missed over the last 20 months.”
To catch up with our coverage from the Virgin Money London Marathon, CLICK HERE