British Olympic hero overcomes late challenge from Jake Robertson to become first athlete to win North East spectacle for fourth successive time
SIR MO FARAH says he will celebrate his historic fourth successive Great North Run win with some “sticky toffee pudding and apple pie”.
Great Britain’s four-time Olympic champion finished top of the pack with a time of one hour and six seconds on Sunday.
Despite the late challenge of New Zealand’s Jake Robertson, he became the first athlete to win it four years in a row.
And he is now level in terms of most victories with Kenya’s Benson Masya, who triumphed on four occasions in the 1990s.
Farah produced his iconic Mobot celebration as he crossed the finish line in Newcastle and later confirmed that he will compete in the London Marathon next April.
Robertson was not far behind him as he came seconds six seconds later.
Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa took third place.
Farah told BBC: “That was really, really tough. I’m sore everywhere – I’ve never been this sore!
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“(Doing less training than he normally would) was definitely telling. With four miles to go I was just hanging on, gritting my teeth.
“As we got closer, I managed to believe in myself and dig, and I was thinking ‘if I can just sit on him (Robertson), at the end I can sprint’.
“I’m so pleased with how the season has gone. I’ll go on a little holiday with the missus and then come back fresh.
“I’m looking forward to having some sticky toffee pudding and then take a break, go on a beach somewhere and then come back for the London Marathon. That’s the big one.”
Farah, who has four Olympic golds and six world crowns, clocked 13:06.05 to win the 5,000m – and $50,000 – at the Weltklasse Diamond League meeting in Zurich two weeks ago as his arch-rival Muktar Edris stumbled in the final metres.
The Ethiopian had beaten him to gold at London 2017 with Farah admitting he was stepping down from the track at the right time.
He said: “Zurich was a fitting way to go out on the track. I tried to go it in London but it didn’t happen. Now my track career is over and this marks a fresh start. I’m excited about a new chapter in my career.
It’s been up and down, a long journey and I think it will take a similar path in the marathon. I’ve got to learn about it but I’m up for it. If I wasn’t motivated then I would be hanging up my spikes now.”
Farah, who wore a British vest despite claiming last month that his outing over 3,000m at the Birmingham Diamond League would be the last time he would don one, could only manage eighth at the London Marathon in 2014 when he clocked 2:08.21 on his debut over 26.2 miles.
He is still ruling out competing in the event at the next World Championships in Doha in 2019 and the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 unless he can mix it with the best.
He said: “The marathon in London wasn’t great, wasn’t what I wanted. I need to know I can mix it with the guys before I think about Tokyo in three years time. I’ll just see what happens.
“It does play on my mind: ‘do I think I could do Tokyo?’ Only if I’m good enough, if I get there and can get a medal. I couldn’t let my country down. I would love to represent my country, like I’ve done on the track but it just depends on how the marathon goes. If it goes so badly, then I won’t be there.”
Ethiopia’s Mary Keitany won the women’s race for a third time, with her compatriot and the 2016 winner Vivian Cheruiyot finishing second and Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui claiming third.
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