Mo Farah Wins Tactical 5000m Race in London

Mo Farah, shown here at the Oxy meet earlier this year, will be the favorite in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters heading into this summer's Olympics. Photo: PhotoRun.net

American Dathan Ritzenhein was fifth in 13:15.91.

(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission. 

Delighting the rain-soaked crowd at Crystal Palace in South London today, world champion Mo Farah won a tactical 5000m on the first day of the Aviva London Grand Prix, the eighth stop of the 2012 Samsung Diamond League.

Although the race used pacemakers Remmy Limo Ndiwa and Sammy Alex Mutahi (both Kenyans), the contenders were content to stay back and run for position, instead.  Farah spent most of the race running in fifth or sixth position, easily handling the 65 and 64 second laps.  Ndiwa retired at 2000m, and Mutahi continued to lead through 3000 (7:58.36) setting up some excellent head-to-head racing in the final two kilometers.

With four laps to go, Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro led Farah, Kenya’s Emmanuel Bett and Mark Kiptoo, America’s Dathan Ritzenhein, Australia’s Collis Birmingham and Craig Mottram.  With two laps to go, Farah moved into the lead, splitting the pack and only bringing Kipsiro and Birmingham with him.  Farah ran his penultimate lap in 58.37, softening up his rivals.  Nonetheless, Birmingham gave chase and was able to stay on Farah’s heels for at least half of the final circuit which the Briton covered in 56.32 to put the race away in 13:06.04.

“It definitely went well, I’m definitely happy,” Farah told U.K. Athletics. “Training’s been going well so I’m looking forward to the Games.”

Farah will complete his Olympic Games preparations in the Pyrenees in Font Romeau.

Birmingham, who like Farah will be running the 5000m in the London Games, scored a personal best in second (13:09.57), while Kipsiro finished third (13:09.98).  Ritzenhein, one of Farah’s training partners under coach Alberto Salazar, finished fifth in 13:15.91.

For Vivian Cheruiyot, who ran her last race before the London Olympics, the story was much the same.  The 68 and 69-second laps took nothing out of last summer’s double world champion, allowing her to brush off a credible challenge from compatriot Mercy Cherono in the last lap.  She closed the race in 64.45 –a relatively easy sprint for her– to finish in 14:48.86 to Cherono’s 14:49.26.  Cheruiyot’s Teddington-based training partner Linet Masai got third (14:53.93) and compatriot Veronica Nyaruai Wanjiru completed the Kenyan sweep in fourth (14:57.75).

In the women’s 1500m, two-time world champion Maryam Jamal of Bahrain showed strong last-lap speed off of a dawdling pace, holding off the homestretch chase of the reigning world champion Jenny Simpson of the United States to win in 4:06.78 to Simpson’s 4:07.76.  World #1-ranked 1500m runner, American Morgan Uceny, was running just off the shoulder of Jamal in second place coming out of the final turn, but faded to finish fifth.  Hannah England, who missed the U.K. Trials last month to allow a spike wound to heal, finished last in 4:14.45.

In the sprints, American Tyson Gay was victorious in the 100m in 10.03, and Olympic teammate Aries Merritt equaled his own world-leading 12.93 in the 110m hurdles, getting the best of world champion Jason Richardson (13.06).

The Aviva London Grand Prix continues tomorrow with 800m races for both men and women, a mile for men (featuring Bernard Lagat and Nick Willis), and a steeplechase for women.

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