The day I run a 3:08 marathon will be a great day – I still remember when I broke 4 hours for the first time and that was a good day! Will there ever be a time in my life when I will run a 2:08 marathon? NO! 🙂
But for a professional runner who has the pride of his country riding on a particular time and then having the opportunity to do that on the streets of your country, running less than that time can be a bad day. And that is exactly what track great Mo Farah said after running a 2:08:21 time at the London Marathon on Sunday. Mo is a double gold Olympic medalist and has done amazing stuff on the track so he decided to try his feet at the marathon distance. Since he is a UK citizen, he figured no better place to make a debut than at the London Marathon in front of a hometown crowd.
Guesses for his marathon debut time were all over, though most experts agreed that his time would be sub-2:07:13 which was the UK record. Some thought he may set a new world record, others thought he would win (no one ever had the type of home court advantage he had going into the race), while still others thought his time would be right in the 2:05 ballpark.
In a day that did see a new course record, it was not Mo Farah that set it. Instead, he struggled quite a bit near the end and finished with a time of 2:08:21 and in 8th place. For a runner who has been such a dominating force at his distances, this had to be a strange thing to come in off the medals platform. This is one of the wonderful things about the marathon – it contains a lot of unpredictability, even for the pros. Mo described his race as “a bad day at the office” but did promise that he will be back yet again.
While I am sure it was a disappointment for him to not break the time that so many people were hoping for, he got his feet in the water for the marathon distance and got to do it in front of the biggest group of supportive fans ever. I am sure that helped with his decision to come back to the distance again – getting the encouragement from so many adoring fans. No matter what, though, a 2:08 marathon is not only a bad day for most people – it would be a miraculous day for all but a few runners in the world! Great job, Mo!