In the settled dust of the fall major marathon season, an argument can be made that Mo Farah is the world’s best marathoner in the non-Eliud Kipchoge division.
Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m on the track at the last two Olympics and switched full-time to road running this year, took third at the London Marathon on April 22 and won the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7.
The 35-year-old Brit announced Tuesday that he’s entering next April’s London Marathon, which Kipchoge has raced and won three straight times (not counting his 2017 absence for Nike’s sub-two-hour marathon attempt). Kipchoge, who distanced Farah by two minutes in April, has not announced his spring marathon plans, but it would be a surprise if he doesn’t defend his London title.
Farah anticipated the showdown in his post-Chicago victory news conference last month, conceding that Kipchoge is the better marathoner (currently, Farah noted) but that he was not afraid of not only racing Kipchoge, but also trying to test the Kenyan world-record holder.
Kipchoge, who is 19 months younger than Farah, has won nine straight marathons, the longest streak at the highest level of the event in at least 50 years. His world record — 2:01:39 set in Berlin on Sept. 16 — is 78 seconds clear of the second-fastest man in history.
“Do I think I can beat him? Yes,” Farah said in conjunction with his London Marathon announcement, according to the Standard. “Right now, he’s beyond anyone else. In that way, I’d compare him to Anthony Joshua, in that he’s the top of the heavyweight boxing division, but it only takes one great fight to knock him down.”
Farah compared himself to another undefeated British heavyweight, Tyson Fury. “You don’t know what you’re going to get. On the day, when it matters, I feel I can put on the best show,” he said, according to the report.
While Joshua and Fury have never fought, Farah and Kipchoge were in the same track race 14 times between 2006 and 2012, with Farah winning three of the last four as he emerged as the world’s best distance runner in 2011 and 2012.
Farah’s plan beyond the London Marathon isn’t as set as once thought. He has said he might go back on his 2017 retirement from track racing and attempt to race the 10,000m at the world championships in Doha on Sept. 27. Even race on the track at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The last British man to win the London Marathon was Eamonn Martin in 1993.
“My aim is to win the London Marathon one day,” Farah said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be.”
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