Defending champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya led from the front to secure a third Virgin Money London Marathon victory as compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot produced a patient performance to win the women's race amid hard conditions here today.
Everyone knew that with temperatures over 20C it would be a tough day. At the first, Farah picked up the wrong...
It was always going to a grim test of survival after that.
2-Tola Shura Kitata (ETI) 2:04.49.
Farah was left to rue starting too fast. "I can't do any better than what I did", he said.
"These guys went for it, for the world record", said Farah after the race. It was do or die.
"I ran a really handsome race", he said.
But Farah, a victor of four Olympic gold medals and six World Championship titles at 5,000 and 10,000m, started to drop back as 2015 and 2016 champion Kipchoge sensed a hat-trick of titles and upped the pace after the 30km mark.
The Worlds in Doha, for example, was mentioned as a likely target next year, plus of course the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, where he will be 37 years old.
The only talk of football on Sunday, however, related to him potentially painting his drinks bottles in Arsenal colours in future so he can pick them out more easily at roadside feeding stations.
"At the drinks station was quite a confusion", he said. "The staff were helpful at the end but at the beginning, they were trying to take a picture rather than giving me the drink", Farah told the BBC. He then picked up another runner's bottle, throwing it to the ground when upon realising it was not his. I wasn't wasting energy, I just needed a drink. "Mentally you need to be strong and pace yourself".
Perhaps we should not have been that surprised.
The London Marathon was first held in 1981. But it was the briefest of mirages.
Farah finished third but with a British record time.
"The reason it was so good for me today was because I started slowly".
"I'm satisfied with the result".
"The older I get, my endurance is getting better".
But conditions are expected to become warmer and sunnier by the time the marathon gets underway.
Kipchoge, as always appeared calm and assured and as the race reached the Embankment with two miles to go the man regarded as the best marathoner of all-time turned the screw on Kitata and opened up a significant gap on the Ethiopian. I fought as much as I could.
2016 Berlin Marathon victor Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele was targeting a first victory in the London edition but he ended up at sixth position with a time of 02:08:53.
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