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Farah lands a £750,000 deal to run in the London Marathon... but will only run half!

Daily Mail
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'.

Mo Farah

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 Birmingham
Practice run: Mo Farah takes the men's 3000m in his stride at the British Athletics Grand Prix in Birmingham

Farah, 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
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 practice'.

'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, from 1998.

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 New Orleans.

Punishing regime: Alberto Salazar (centre)
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 Vault
Good form: Holly Bleasdale won the Pole Vault

She 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 in 6.99sec.

Jenny Meadows made a heartwarming return to the track after a 15-month injury break, coming second in the 800m in 2min 02.86sec.


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