Sir Mo Farah has been hailed as an inspiration by his rivals ahead of his final London Marathon on Sunday.
Farah confirmed on Thursday that this weekend would be the last time he attempts the 26.2-mile course in the capital.
While the four-time Olympic champion will take part in other races in England during the remainder of 2023, his final hurrah will be the TCS London Marathon.
🗣 Messages for Mo
— TCS London Marathon (@LondonMarathon) April 21, 2023
Victory in the event has eluded Farah, who had to pull out of the October race with a hip issue and has not been involved since 2019.
It would take an extraordinary turn of events for the British veteran to taste success in his final London Marathon given his form and fitness issues over the last couple of years, but he has been hailed by the runners battling to cross the finish line first.
Defending elite men’s champion Amos Kipruto said: “Yes, Mo Farah is a real inspiration for the young generation like us and I hope to run more years like Mo Farah is racing.
“I am looking forward to running with Mo Farah on Sunday and I wish him good luck.”
Current world champion Tamirat Tola remembered running with Farah at the 2016 Rio Games, where the Briton claimed gold whilst the Ethiopian finished third in the 10,000 metres.
“Before we ran in Rio at the Olympic 10,000, now he comes to the marathon,” Tola explained.
“He is more experienced in 10,000. Maybe on Sunday he will run together with us and we will stay together. I hope (this) for him.”
Meanwhile, Kelvin Kiptum, who ran the third-fastest ever marathon time in Valencia in December, is excited to compete against Farah for the first time.
Kiptum added: “Of course I saw Mo Farah, still I was young. He was a great athlete.
“One time I used to say I will compete with Mo Farah so I am very excited to race with him.”
Farah promised to enjoy his last time around the historic course and was excited to pass Buckingham Palace one more time.
When pushed on what is to come next after a career that peaked at the 2012 London Games, the long-distance runner revealed a burning desire to help the next generation.
“It will be my last marathon. After that I will do a couple more races, it hasn’t been announced yet and I will not announce it yet but in terms of marathons, this is it,” Farah explained.
“I do owe it for the British crowd and the people who supported me throughout my journey. From a young boy to someone who became four-time Olympic champion and that Super Saturday, the crowd and the people in the stadium did follow my journey.
“For me it is a great way to end my marathon career here. This is where it started with the mini-marathon that took place and I won. Then going onto the seniors and finishing third in 2018, that was my best but age catches up with us all.
“The key thing is to make the most of it, enjoy it and I am sure the crowd will make a big difference for me on Sunday. As you get to the last 10km, the last six miles, I know it will be tough.
“I would love to give back to the community, to young kids and become a coach or development coach. I want to continue to give back the skills and tools I have learnt.
“What motivates me is seeing young athletes coming along and having that energy. If I can give something to those young athletes and take them to the next level, I would love to do that.”