What a way to close out the first day of the 2017 IAAF World Championships.
In front of a home British crowd, Mo Farah prevailed in the men’s 10,000m winning his 10th global track title at 34. Seven spots back, Canadian Mohammed Ahmed, the other “Mo,” broke the national record, adding the 25-lap mark to the 5,000m Canadian record he already owns.
Friday evening’s performance kicked off Farah’s final world championships as he will also contest the 5,000m in London, at the same venue as the 2012 Olympics where he won double gold. He went on to defend both the 5,000/10,000 titles in Rio last August. Ahmed, who hails from St. Catharines, Ont., clocked 27:02.35 on Friday to take the record from Cam Levins (27:07.51). Farah won in 26:49.51.
Ahmed’s eighth-place finish was the best ever for a Canadian in the event. The Somali-born runner, who owns the Canadian U20 10,000m record from earlier in his career, is not quite satisfied.
“Honestly one of the things that I’m really sick of is ‘best Canadian finish,’ ‘best Canadian this,’ I want to be the best in the world,” Ahmed said after the race. “That’s essentially what I’m working towards. I dislike hearing those words, best Canadian finish. You want to be the best in the world.”
In rather-typical fashion, the race came down to the bell lap as the Brit ran within four seconds of his lifetime best in a historically fast championship race. Farah was clipped, or slipped on the inside rail, three times over the final 400m and held his composure, out-sprinting the young talent of Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei. Prior to the race, the belief was that if a fast enough tempo was set by the East Africans, namely the Ethiopians and Kenyans, that Farah would be put under pressure. Apparently not.
➰ S L O W M O Ain't no stoppin @gomofarah . World Champion and one of the most beautiful race I've seen so far. Not the best quality for this picture but this guy right here showed some. Last lap, only 300m to go, Mo' almost fell over; but once again he taught the #world that in life or on the track, only YOU decide when it is over. . #spikesmag #trackandfield @iaaf2017worldchampionships #seethebest #bethenext #nike #SDMsports #limitless #agameoftones #visualsgang #snobshots
As Farah does, he held the inside line for the final lap, running the shortest possible distance and forcing his competitors to try and pass on the outside. After a hot early pace, and with several laps in the low 60 seconds, there were nine athletes in the hunt with about 1K to go. The pack dwindled to four by the 9,600m mark and Farah was able to celebrate over the final few metres, a testament to his gap at the finish.
— Athletics Canada (@AthleticsCanada) August 4, 2017
For Ahmed, the performance was a huge jump in terms of his personal best. The Bowerman Track Club member based out of Portland, Ore. improved 28 seconds on his previous lifetime best. Watch for the 26-year-old in the men’s 5,000m heats on Aug. 9.