Mo Farah will be returning to the track in an attempt to qualify for the Olympics at the upcoming Müller British Athletics 10,000m Championships in Birmingham on June 5. Farah has spent the past few years focused on road racing, but in late 2019, he announced that he would look to defend his Olympic 10,000m gold medal at the Tokyo Games. Since making that announcement, he has only raced on the track once, and that was in a one-hour race in which he ran 21.3K (which broke the world record). His last 10,000m came in 2017, when he won gold at the world championships in London.
Farah has won multiple 10,000m crowns, with three world championship titles (plus one silver in 2011) and the past two Olympic gold medals. On top of those wins, he has four world championship medals in the 5,000m (three gold, one silver) and, like in the 10,000m, he is a two-time champion. His 10,000m PB of 26:46.57 is a British and European record, which adds to his national bests in the marathon, half-marathon and 5,000m, among others.
Despite all of these incredible results, Farah may enter the June race in unfamiliar territory as an underdog, or at least not as the overwhelming favourite for the win. After all, while he has been focusing on the roads, his fellow Brits Marc Scott and Sam Atkin (both of whom will race the British 10,000m Championships alongside Farah) have continued to compete on the track and produce quick results.
In 2021, Scott has run PBs in the 5,000m and 10,000m, climbing to second and third in the all-time British rankings, respectively, with times of 13:05.13 and 27:10.41. Atkin rose to fifth all-time among Brits in the 10,000m with a 27:26.58 run in California in December, just a day after running his 5,000m PB of 13:18.57 on the same track.
Farah’s lifetime 10,000m best is much faster than those of Scott and Atkin, and his last race at the distance was an incredible 26:49.51, but that was close to four full years ago. He still has speed, which he put on display in his one-hour world record last September, but the question is whether he has enough of it to not only hit the Olympic 10,000m standard of 27:28.00 and qualify for the Games, but to compete with the world’s best in Tokyo this summer if he makes it there.