London Marathon organisers hoping to secure Mo Farah return for next year

Sean Ingle
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Mo Farah (left) could challenge this year’s London Marathon winner, Eliud Kipchoge, in the future according to Farah’s coach, Gary Lough.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters</span>
Mo Farah (left) could challenge this year’s London Marathon winner, Eliud Kipchoge, in the future according to Farah’s coach, Gary Lough. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

London Marathon organisers are already lining up Mo Farah to run in next year’s race while his coach, Gary Lough, believes he could yet reach a “similar level” as the winner this year, Eliud Kipchoge.

The 35-year-old Farah is yet to decide on his next race over 26.2 miles but the likelihood is he will choose an autumn marathon in Chicago or New York – with Dubai in January an outside bet – before returning to the British capital next April. It is a prospect which one senior London Marathon figure told the Guardian they “would love to see happen”.

Lough believes the performance on Sunday showed that, while Kipchoge – who has not lost since 2013 – is the greatest in history, Farah is capable of putting him under pressure by running a time of 2hr 3min or 2:04 in the future.

“Eliud is the best marathon runner ever,” Lough said. “But I think Mo can get to a similar level – of being either one or two in the world. And if you put him into a championship environment, like next year in the world championships in Doha or certainly the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, I definitely think Mo should be someone people have got major concerns about. He wants to be the best that he can be – and that is going to be one of the best in the world.”

Farah’s agent, Ricky Simms, meanwhile, has dismissed any suggestions that the runner’s former coach Alberto Salazar, who remains under investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency, played any part in the 35-year-old’s success in London.

“I can assure you that Gary is 100% Mo’s coach and there is no other influence from me or anyone else at all,” Simms told the Guardian. “Maybe Alberto sent him a good luck message for the race, not that there’s any problem with it, but I don’t think they have communicated. The hidden conspiracy theory, that he is being coached by Alberto, is complete rubbish.”

Simms also suggested that there was obvious room for improvement in Farah’s time of 2:06:21 – and that, if he had not had gone off so quickly in temperatures that hit 24C (75F) or had problems with his water bottles, he might have recorded a faster time.

“Mo has shown he can be a very good marathon runner,” Simms said. “On Sunday he ran 61 minutes for the first half and 64 for the second. If he goes through halfway in 62 or 62:15, I would love to have seen how he came back, because the fast early pace and missing his bottles meant he lost a lot of time at the end.”

Simms paid tribute to Farah, who some had thought was doing the London Marathon purely for a final payday after retiring from the track last September. “I have been with him on track races when he has not been fit and he has still been able to grind it out and win,” he said.

“He has got such determination. He won’t lie down. He has been winning for a number of years. He likes winning. He does not like not winning as much as anyone as I have met, so that determination to keep winning is there. He has a pride to do well.”

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