Sir Mo Farah will target a sixth successive Great North Run title on Sunday with “no regrets” over his decision to skip the upcoming World Athletics Championships in Qatar.
Farah’s name was notable by its absence from the Great Britain squad announced this week as the 36-year-old shifts his focus to retaining his Chicago Marathon crown on October 13.
With his glittering track career now seemingly consigned to history, Farah is gaining fresh motivation from the prospect of further establishing himself as one of the men to be feared over longer distances.
Farah told the PA news agency: “I don’t have any regrets [about missing the World Championships].
“It’s too close to Chicago and if I want to get ready for the 2020 Olympics, I have to do more marathons. It is better to do one where I can feel strong and make sure I’m up there among the best in the world.”
While Farah is at pains to point out his marathon career is still very much a work in progress, he acknowledged his success last year has seen him emerge as one of the genuine contenders heading towards Tokyo.
Farah claimed his first marathon title 12 months ago when he stormed clear of Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew to win in a time of two hours, five minutes and 11 seconds – a European best by 37 seconds.
Farah added: “I think it is going to be a different race in Chicago this year because after winning it last year I am going into it with a target on my back.
“I’m still learning, but I like to have that pressure. Pressure is always something you put on yourself, but for me it gives me the confidence of knowing I’ve done it once, so I can do it again.”
In the meantime Farah is favourite to become the first athlete to win six Great North Run titles on Sunday, which would see him surpass Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who has won five in the women’s wheelchair race.
He added: “This is a really important race for me before Chicago because it gives me the opportunity to assess my performance and get back to basics.
“A lot has changed since I won my first Great North Run in 2014. I have been getting stronger every year and I have every intention of crossing that bridge leading the pack once again.”