2013 Bupa London 10,000
Farah wins his fifth consecutive title
Mo Farah was in imperious form in the capital this morning as he secured his fifth consecutive Bupa London 10,000 title with an effortless victory in the bright bank holiday sun, delighting the large crowds who had come to see the double Olympic champion running through his home city.
Farah took off just after 2km and raced away from the domestic field on a looping course around the City of London before crossing the Finish Line on The Mall in glorious isolation in 29 minutes 13 seconds.
Farah's finishing time was eight seconds quicker than he ran here last year, but some way adrift of the British record of 27:44 he set in 2010.
Nevertheless, it was a solid foundation, he said, for the challenges ahead this summer, not least his bid to repeat his Olympic 5000m and 10,000m double at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
"It was most important to win the race today, I wasn't really looking for a time," he said. "It was really important to me to win my fifth title. Running in London is fun for me because I don't often race here.
"But it's going to get serious from here," he added. "I've got my first real test next Friday at the Eugene Diamond League and I'm very excited about that. I've got to be ready for it. I've got to be more ready than I was last year."
Farah was certainly more than ready for today's challenge as he stamped his authority on the race after a slow start, running alone for nearly 8km to win by 52 seconds from Phil Wicks, who was second in 30:05, with Phil Nicholls another 10 seconds back in third.
Katrina Wootton won the women's race by a similarly large margin from the former world junior 1500m champion, Steph Twell, with Emily Pidgeon third.
Like Farah, Wootton led from the 2km mark, and stretched away over the rest of the course to claim victory on her Bupa London 10,000 debut in 32:37, just 14 seconds outside the personal best she set four weeks ago. Twell clocked 33:34 in second with Pidgeon another 12 seconds adrift.
Farah's comfortable victory extended an unbeaten run in outdoor races that goes back to the 10,000m final at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu when he lost a sprint finish to Ethiopia's Ibrahim Jeilan.
There was little chance of that happening here. Farah set off to a loud roar alongside marathon runner Scott Overall with Wicks tucked in behind. These three went through 2km in 5:49 before Farah decided the pace was too slow.
Simply lengthening his stride, Farah moved clear, opening an instant five-metre lead that grew to 20m by 3km (8:39). At 4km (11:39) he had a six-second gap on Wicks with Overall third, and after racing further away through Leadenhall Market he passed half way in 14:40 with a nine-second advantage.
From then on it was a procession, Farah enjoying every minute. He raced back towards Westminster along Victoria Embankment swapping hand-slaps and high fives with the mass runners jogging in the opposite direction along the other side of the carriageway. Many stopped to take photos and do the Mobot, Farah's signature victory gesture.
By 7km (20:30) he was some 25 seconds in front of Wicks with Nicholls now third ahead of Overall. Farah slowed slightly through the eighth kilometre (8km: 23:29) but ran hard over the last stretch past the Houses of Parliament and sprinted down The Mall to win by nearly 400m.
"It was awesome out there today," he said afterwards. "The support was great and it's nice to give something back to the British people. It was great to win my fifth title."
Wicks was pleased with his race too, just a month after finishing 15th at this year's Virgin London Marathon.
"This was my first race since the London Marathon and I'm really pleased with my performance," he said. "After three weeks of training I just wanted to run a fast 10km to stretch my legs.
"Running in the heat was tough today. The buildings seem to keep the warmth in, although the crowds that turned out made up for the conditions. I love running in London as the support is always amazing."
Nicholls was also delighted with his confidence-boosting third place.
"I needed to have a good run today as I've been really disappointed after my last four or five races," he said. "I felt really good out there. My confidence has definitely returned. My goal was a top six finish so I'm delighted."
If Farah's win was predictable, Wootton's was something of a surprise, not least to herself.
"I haven't run in London since I did the Mini London Marathon as a schoolgirl," she said. "I wanted to experience the London crowds and they really didn't disappoint today.
"It was amazing to be so far out in the lead, although I was worried about the quality of the field behind me. The Olympics created such a buzz for London so I wanted to come here and experience that. The Bupa London 10,000 is an amazing event."
"The atmosphere at today's race was amazing," agreed Twell, who was a minute outside her PB less than 24 hours after finishing third in yesterday's Bupa Westminster Mile.
"I could feel a bit of fatigue in my legs after running yesterday and I think I set off at mile pace today too," she said. "It's the first time I've done the race and I loved it. London is so scenic.
"My goal for the season is to get a qualifying time for the 5000m at the World Championships in Moscow in August and my performance today is a great step towards that."
Pidgeon also rode the wave of noise on her 10km debut. "I've never done a straight 10km race so I wasn't sure what to expect but I had a great time," she said. "I love twisty courses and there were crowds cheering the whole way around. It was an awesome race out there. I'll definitely be back."
It was a sentiment shared by many of the other 10,000 finishers on another glorious late spring day in central London.
Top 10 Men
1. Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles) 29:13
2. Phil Wicks (Belgrave Harriers) 30:05
3. Phil Nicholls (Tipton Harriers) 30:15
4. Luke Gunn (Derby AC) 30:20
5. Scott Overall (Blackheath & Bromley) 30:31
6. Frank Tickner (Wells City Harriers) 30:35
7. Nicholas Torry (Serpentine) 30:40
8. Nathan White (Windsor) 30:47
9. Shaun Dixon (Highgate Harriers) 30:47
10. Matthew Barnes (Altrincham and District AC) 30:48
Top 10 Women
1. Katrina Wootton (Coventry/Bedford & Coventry) 32:37
2. Steph Twell (Aldershot Farnham & District AC) 33:34
3. Emily Pidgeon (Aldershot Farnham & District AC) 33:56
4. Andrea Whitcombe (Swansea Harriers) 34:04
5. Claire Hallissey (Bristol & West/Watford) 34:12
6. Lorna Russell (Winchester) 34:17
7. Amy Whitehead (Notts) 34:21
8. Caryl Jones (Swansea Harriers) 34:24
9. Lauren Deadman (Havering Mayesbrook) 34:33
10. Rachel Felton (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) 34:34