MO FARAH admits that the lure of London proved too much in the end.
Not just competing in the marathon on the streets of the capital next year but simply coming back to live in his home city with his family.
He is also only too aware that there will be the doubters who believe the real reason he is splitting with controversial coach Alberto Salazar is because he has been put under pressure from athletics chiefs to finally make the break.
But the double Olympic distance champion insists that he has wanted to move back to the UK for some time and after enjoying a long spell in his home city this summer when he won 10,000m gold and 5,000m silver at the World Championships, his wife Tania and four children, including eldest daughter Rhianna who was born in the capital, also realised how much they missed living in London.
Especially after the emotions of London 2017 when Farah lay sobbing on the finish line after missing out on 5,000m gold in the final championship track race of his career in the same stadium where his life had changed five years earlier.
He insists: “I’m not leaving the Nike Oregon Project and Alberto Salazar because of the doping allegations.
“This situation has been going on for over two years, if I was going to leave because of that I would have done.
“As I’ve always said, I am firm believer in clean sport and I strongly believe that anyone who breaks the rules should be punished. If Alberto had crossed the line I would be out the door but USADA (US Anti Doping) has not charged him with anything. If I had ever had any reason to doubt Alberto, I would not have stood by him all this time.
MO CALLS QUITS Mo Farah splits with controversial coach Alberto Salazar
“I’m leaving simply because my family and I are moving back to London. We all loved spending our summer here and Tania and I realised how much we have missed spending time with our friends and family – and the kids are so happy here, too.
“We want the kids to grow up in the UK. It’s the right thing to do for my family. But both Nike Oregon Project and Alberto are based in the USA, so it just would not be possible to continue our relationship from London.”
Farah, who will have his first serious outing over the marathon distance in London in April, also insists that he has not been put under pressure by UK Athletics to distance himself from Salazar.
They will also continue to support him.
He said: “My decision to move back has nothing to do with UKA. I’ve let them know of my change in coach but they don’t have a role in deciding who that is.
“I chose to work with Gary (Lough) over others because I’ve known him for a very long time – since I was sixteen – and we get on well. Gary successfully coached Paula Radcliffe – Britain’s greatest ever marathon runner who I’ve always looked up to since I was a kid – throughout her career and he has an in-depth understanding of what is needed to achieve real results at marathon distance.
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“I wanted someone who not only has in-depth experience in the marathon, but who is also going to be able to drill down into the fine detail of my performance to help me to be the very best that I can be.
“There’s a certain expectation on my shoulders but it really isn’t going to be easy to make the transition from track to marathon. It’s a very different discipline.
“Just look at my performance in 2014 when I came eighth – almost four minutes behind Wilson Kipsang who won. I’m going to have to adapt my training and Gary will be great at this and he will also be accompanying me at most of my training camps so we will be training hard every day.
“I approached him after the World Championships when I was seriously considering moving back to the UK and looking for a new, UK-based coach. He was the first person I thought of, given how long I have known him.
“We’ll be working together immediately and he will be supporting me through the transition period, as I look towards the next phase of my career and make the move back to the UK.
“It’s a new and exciting partnership – and part of that will involve us working out what works for us. I’ve had a great six years with Alberto, he’s helped me achieve my full potential on the track but now it’s time to move on.”
Farah, who moved to Portland in 2011 to work with distance guru Salazar, has won 10 global titles including the Olympic and World 10,000m and 5,000m double.
He was knighted in the New Year Honours after defending his London 2012 Olympic titles in Rio last summer.
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