Sunday, February 17, 2013
Mo farah will pocket a staggering
£750,000 for running twice in the London Marathon - even though he will
complete only the first half this year, a decision Paula Radcliffe
branded 'a little strange'.
The fee Farah will receive for appearing in the race dwarfs even the £500,000 it is believed Radcliffe took home in her heyday.
London Marathon organisers do not, as a matter of policy, disclose precise fees paid to athletes.
'He'll be rightfully well rewarded as an Olympic champion,' is all race director Hugh Brasher would reveal.
But 29-year-old Farah's fee for participation in the event is greater than any they have paid in the past for a single runner.
After sponsors' bonuses and other payments are taken into account, Farah will receive around £750,000.
The previous largest appearance fee was for Radcliffe, who broke the world record on London's streets in 2003.
Practice run: Mo Farah takes the men's 3000m in his stride at the British Athletics Grand Prix in BirminghamFarah, the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m
champion, will run 13.1 miles of the Virgin London Marathon course in
April as part of his preparations to convert to running the 26.2-mile
distance on a permanent basis, before making his competitive debut in
the 2014 race.
'I find it strange,' said Radcliffe,
'it's not what I would have done. Either you find a good half-marathon
or you take the plunge and attack the distance and race it. But
everybody has different reasons.'
Winner: Wilson Kipsang claimed victory in last year's London Marathon
Farah, who stormed to an almost
processional victory in the 3,000m at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix
on Saturday, defended his decision by claiming it would be 'brilliant
'The London Marathon is the biggest in the world and it's about dealing with everything that goes along with that,' said Farah.
'Running in the London Olympics and
having 75,000 people cheering for me was the best thing ever and having
all those people cheering again, I just can't stop thinking about it.'
It is expected that 650,000 people
will line the streets to see Farah, born in Somalia but raised in
Britain from the age of eight, in the London Marathon.
'As a young boy growing up in London
it has always been my ambition to run the London Marathon,' said Farah,
who won the Mini Marathon for runners aged 11-17 three years in a row,
Farah will run in the lead pack for
about 62 minutes, covering the route from Greenwich Park to the halfway
point, just after Tower Bridge, before retreating into the race
organiser's headquarters at the Tower Hotel.
Asked if he would be tempted to
continue after halfway, Farah said: 'I have a plan and that's to go to
halfway and that will be it, even if I feel great. The marathon is
moving forward so fast. I think I've got great speed, but that doesn't
mean I'll be a great marathon runner.'
The run, according to Brasher, will act as 'a fact-finding mission'.
He added: 'It echoes the way Mo has gone about every piece of preparation throughout his career.'
Asked if he had tried to persuade
Farah to run the full marathon this year, Brasher said: 'He's always
been very clear about his intentions. He's always said he wants to run
the 10,000m at the World Championships in Moscow this summer, so we've
supported him in that. No pressure whatsoever.'
There has long been speculation that
Farah would move toward road racing after 2012, and in October his
coach, Alberto Salazar, suggested that he may attempt the 10,000m and
marathon double in Rio in 2016.
Salazar, who won three successive New
York Marathons in the Eighties, was famed for the brutal training
sessions he put himself through, and Farah has taken that ethos on board
in a bid to prepare himself for the marathon.
Having returned from training in
Iten, Kenya, where he prepared for last summer's Olympics, Farah begins
his competitive road racing schedule next week, in a half-marathon in
Punishing regime: Alberto Salazar (centre)A BBC film crew travelled to Kenya
last week to conduct the interview with Farah, which was screened during
their coverage of yesterday's Birmingham Grand Prix at the NIA Arena.
Farah was the star attraction there
yesterday, cruising to victory in the 3,000m in 7min 42sec, with
France's Florian Carvalho second and Britain's Lee Emanuel third.
The way the crowd greeted him as he
crossed the finish line, with some children doing his trademark Mobot on
the big screen, is evidence of his commercial pulling power. He has the
star quality to reinvigorate interest in the London Marathon men's race
and could provide a domestic winner for the first time since Eamonn
Martin, who worked full-time at the Ford motor plant in Basildon,
triumphed 20 years ago.
In Birmingham, Holly Bleasdale
looked in good form ahead of the Indoor World Championships in
Gothenburg, winning the pole vault on count-back.
Good form: Holly Bleasdale won the Pole VaultShe was tantalisingly close to
clearing 4.78m but clipped the bar with her heels. 'I'm going to
Gothenburg in the best state I can be to win gold,' she said.
The much-anticipated 60m showdown
between Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and American Carmelita Jeter
fell short of expectations, with Ivory Coast's Murielle Ahoure winning
Jenny Meadows made a heartwarming
return to the track after a 15-month injury break, coming second in the
800m in 2min 02.86sec.