9 March 2009
A few days after his impressive 3000m victory at the European Indoor Championships in Turin, Mo Farah hosted an Aviva Cross Country Masterclass for a group of young athletes hoping to emulate their favourite endurance athlete as they prepare for the Home Country Schools Championships in two weeks time.
Mo’s career took off after two victories at the English Schools Cross Country in 1997 and 1999, following the initial disappointment of finishing 9th in his first ever English Schools and just missing out on selection for the Home Countries International.
In 2000 he was Britain's top placer at 25th in the World Junior Cross Country, having retained his National U17 Cross Country title, winning by nearly a minute. He won a junior international 3000m race on his indoor debut in the same year and during the summer smashed his bests from 1500m, at which he was 2nd in the AAA U20 Championships, to 5000m, at which he made the final of the World Juniors.
The Masterclass, set in leafy Bushy Park Mo’s favourite place to train, forced him to reflect on how far he has come since those early years to his recent successful indoor season.
“I had four races and four wins including the European Indoors, so I’m happy, I couldn’t do any better than that! I had planned my indoor campaign since the start of winter training back in October, it was great to be back competing on the track.”
Looking back on his success in Turin, he added:
“It was a lot harder than people thought, to go out there and take Gold at the European Indoors. There was some pressure on me as the favourite, but I had worked so hard for that medal and I enjoy what I do, so I always want to just concentrate on doing what I do best.”
“My winter training in Kenya went really well, the lifestyle suits me, we just train really hard as a group. I train with the same group of Kenyan athletes that are based here in Teddington in the summer. I used to live with them a couple of years ago.
“Now the indoors has finished, I am looking ahead to the summer and will be going back out to Kenya in a few days. We will be based at the training camp called ‘Kaptagat’, which is managed by my agents PACE. We have very simple living accommodation, all live together in the same place. I’m planning to train out there for another six weeks, then get ready for the start of the outdoors.
“The focus for me now is the World Champs in Berlin, nothing else matters! I remember back to the last lap of the World Championships in Osaka, I was at the front when we got to the bell, then they really wound it up. I always learn from big races and now I’m much stronger and a lot more confident. Major championships finals can be really tactical, but I’m really looking forward to Berlin.
When asked how he would like to break the elusive British Record for 5,000m held by David Moorcroft, he added:
“The perfect way to break the record would be in front of a home crowd at Crystal Palace in the Aviva London Grand Prix. I really want David Moorcroft to be there watching and to congratulate me at the end.”
Tickets for the Outdoor televised events including the Aviva London Grand Prix go on sale on 2nd April, check out www.uka.org.uk
Aviva’s sponsorship of the Home Country Schools Championships will be officially launched on 28 March at the SIAB International Match in Bangor.