Britain’s Sir Mo Farah is making headlines for all the wrong reasons in the days leading up to Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon.
It started 22 minutes into yesterday’s press conference, with Farah speaking up that he had been the victim of a robbery at an Addis Ababa hotel owned by running legend Haile Gebrselassie, who Farah claims did nothing to compensate him. A report in the Guardian says Farah admits to texting Gebrselassie repeatedly and warning him he planned to say something about the incident during the press conference. (Eliud Kipchoge, who was seated next to Farah, looked on impassively.)
In response, Gebrselassie issued a press release claiming the hotel immediately informed police of the theft and had several suspects (who were hotel staff) arrested and taken into custody, though they were released three weeks later with no charges laid, and that he gave Farah a 50 per cent discount for his three-month stay, which Farah still refuses to pay. Moreover, he claims that Farah and his group were guilty of “disgraceful conduct” several times during their stay. He also took issue with Farah’s impugning of his character and hinted that he planned to sue.
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) April 25, 2019
In a subsequent Guardian story, Gebrselassie claims Farah started a fight at the hotel with a couple he thought were following him, and only avoided being taken into custody himself thanks to Gebrselassie’s intervention. Farah’s coach, Gary Lough, downplayed the incident.
Earlier at the race expo, fans were treated to the hilarious spectacle of Farah being repeatedly thrown off the treadmill set up to give fans a chance to try matching Eliud Kipchoge‘s 4:38-per-mile pace in last year’s world record-setting performance in Berlin. (Kipchoge will also race London on Sunday, along with numerous other elites including 2018 runner-up Shura Kitata and Olympic bronze medallist and former world record-holder Wilson Kipsang.)
Kipchoge’s monastic habits during training and propensity for dropping pearls of wisdom in interviews couldn’t be in greater contrast to the publicity-courting Farah. Sunday’s race, which gets under way at 4:25 a.m. EDT with the elite women’s start, will be very interesting.