“It has been an amazing week”. That was the immediate reaction from Sir Mo Farah after he said farewell to his legion of British fans with a classic sprint to victory in the IAAF Müller Grand Prix 3000m at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium yesterday (Sunday 20 August). This was Mo's final appearance on an athletics track on British soil and he will conclude his illustrious track career with an attempt to win the Diamond League final at Zürich on Thursday (24 August).
Sir Mo Farah closed the final chapter on his British track career in typical style. Sitting off the pace he moved closer to the action with 800m to run, took the lead early on the final lap and even had time for some interaction with the crowd off the final bend. Farah's winning time was 7:38.64 with Andy Butchart fourth (7:44.10) behind Adel Mechaal (Spain, 7:40.34) and Davis Kiplangat (Kenya, 7:40.63).
Immediately after the finish Farah removed his vest and handed it to Butchart, who later revealed that Mo had said: “You're taking over. Its your time to shine”, before one final TV interview with Phil Jones while draped in the union flag. Farah said: “It has been an amazing week. I’ve managed to have a bit of downtime with the family and relax but emotions have been high coming into this event; not as much as London but it is my last time at home and I really enjoyed it”.
In other events in Birmingham, Jake Wightman made history in the Emsley Carr Mile to become the first British winner of the famous old race since 2005 as he sprinted past fellow Scot Chris O’Hare for victory in 3:54.92. Wightman said: “I needed to redeem myself after the Worlds, where going out in the semis was pretty gutting. With 300m to go I could feel Chris and I knew one of us was going to win and I’ve not beaten him in a long, long time”.
Another great race was the women's 3000m won by Sifan Hassan (Netherlands) in a national and meeting record 8:28.90. Nine of the 14 finishers set PBs, including fifth placed Eilish McColgan (8:31.00) to make this the best quality event on the programme.
Image courtesy British Athletics media