After months without racing opportunities, multiple Olympic and world champion Mo Farah will be back in action twice in a little over a week, starting at the Brussels Diamond League on Friday and then at the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in Larne, Northern Ireland, eight days later. He will be running a 60-minute race in Brussels with his eye on Haile Gebrselassie‘s one-hour record of 21.285K. In Larne, he’ll race the flat and fast half-marathon course and reportedly aim to beat his own British record at the distance of 59:32. Following such a long hiatus from racing, Farah looks excited to get back to competitions.
Farah will line up with 12 other men for the one-hour race in Brussels. Gebrselassie set his record 13 years ago at a race in Ostrava, Czech Republic. His final distance of 21.285K worked out to an average pace of 2:49 per kilometre. Farah’s half-marathon PB is 59:07 (although he ran it at the Great North Run in the U.K., which is a point-to-point race and therefore not a legal record), which is 2:48 per kilometre, just a bit faster than Gebrselassie’s pace. He’ll have to work hard to surpass that 13-year-old mark on Friday, but he’ll have the motivation of a real race to power him along. One of his main adversaries in the event is Bashir Abdi of Belgium who will be racing on home turf (although without the home crowd present to cheer him on) and shooting for the one-hour record as well.
Antrim Coast Half Marathon
Farah just announced his plans to race the Antrim Coast Half on Monday. The race is set for September 12, and it will feature a lineup of some of Great Britain’s best athletes, as reported by the BBC. There will be 15 Olympians who competed in six different Olympic Games racing in Larne, and while some of them are long retired (like world championship medallist Jo Pavey), others, like Farah, are still racing on the elite circuit. The race will also include the two current British half-marathon champions, Lily Partridge and Ben Connor.
— Sir Mo Farah (@Mo_Farah) August 31, 2020
Farah posted a video to Twitter to make his announcement, and he said, “It’s a fast course, I’m really excited. Let’s see what I can do.” The course is “essentially flat,” according to the event website, with 220m of elevation gain throughout and 239m of descent. With 1,300m to go, runners hit a big downhill which takes them to the finish line, making for a quick closing kilometre. This fast finish will help Farah make a push to lower his British record, or maybe even the European record of 59:13, which was set by Swiss runner Julien Wanders at the RAK Half-Marathon in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.