Hot work for Farah as he beats 33-year old British marathon record

London Marathon 2018: Mo Farah breaks 33-year-old British record as Eliud Kipchoge wins

Mo Farah didn’t find the streets of London paved with gold – but he still rewrote the history books yet again, writes James Toney.

After quitting the track last summer at the World Championships, the four-time Olympic and six-time world champion, was back in the capital.

And he duly erased the 33-year old British record at the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Steve Jones’s mark had stood since 1985 but Farah, who finished third behind Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia’s Tola Shura Kitata, clocked 2:06.21 in the hottest marathon in the race’s history.

Jones had said he feared Farah would ‘obliterate’ his record and – with temperatures nudging 23 degrees – the 35-year old went 52 seconds quicker.

“I’m knackered, the guys just went for it, at world record pace. It was do or die, I went for it and hung in as much as I could and it’s nice to have the record,” said Farah.

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“It’s so different to being on the track, it’s different pain and different training but I’ve enjoyed it. You get heavy legs, mentally you need to be strong and pace yourself.

“I gave 110% like I always do. I’ve got a lot to learn about the marathon but as long as I can, I’ll keep doing it. I can’t be unhappy with third, looking at the quality of that field you would never have put me there before the race.

“I think it’s mission accomplished, I wasn’t thinking about time, I just wanted to fight and compete with these guys. When they went away, then the next target was that British record.”

Farah, in only his second marathon, believes it will take two years to really master this 26 mile distance, a timeline which happily coincides with the Tokyo Olympics, held in a country where marathon running is a religion.

Next up will be one of the World Marathon Majors races in the autumn, followed by a return to London next year and maybe even a crack at the distance at next year’s World Championships in Doha.

He admits Kipchoge, the Olympic champion in Rio, is setting the standard but his post-race demeanour was very different from his last London Marathon four years ago, when he finished eighth.

Indeed, Farah’s winning time would have won 25 of the 38 editions of this race, stretching back to 1981.

“Eliud is a great athlete and he made it look easy out there. I had to fight him as much as I could,” added Farah, who now holds national records from 1500m to marathon distance. “It’s going to take a couple more years and a few more marathon to really challenge.”

The Queen started a record 41,000 runners on their way but it was Kipchoge and Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot that dominated in two fascinating races.

The men’s race started at a crazy pace, with Kipchoge going through the half marathon in 61 minutes. One by one his rivals started to drop back but the Olympic marathon champion is clearly in a class of his own over this distance.

He didn’t beat his course record but his 2:04.17 time was still the second fastest winning mark in London.

The women’s race was just as fascinating as three-winner Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba setting off with their pacemakers in pursuit of Paula Radcliffe’s world and course record from 2003.

Dibaba dropped out at the 19th mile and Keitany quickly faded too, allowing a patient Cheruiyot to come through and add marathon title to her Olympic 5000m gold in a time of 2:18.31. Lily Partridge was the first British women’s finisher in a personal best of 2:29.04.

“Top ten, a personal best and a qualifying time for the European Championships, I can’t have any complaints, though I would have liked to have gone faster,” said Partridge.

“Everything know is going to be focussed on the European Championships in Berlin and I believe I’ve got the chance to medal.”

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