The IAAF Diamond League really came to life in Birmingham on Sunday as eight stadium records and six world leading performances were recorded. Top of the bill was Mo Farah, who finally eclipsed David Moorcroft’s 1982 British record in the 3000m with a breathtaking gun to tape victory in 7min32.62sec, just 0.17 faster than Moorcroft’s impressively durable previous best.
Running a fraction over four-minute-mile pace for the entire seven and a half laps, Farah called upon all his mental strength to finish around 80m clear of the field and at first thought he had just missed his target, saying: “I didn't know I had got the British record when I crossed the line - I thought I had just missed it! I was a bit tired on the last lap but I knew I had to dig in. I'm in great shape but I just have to believe in myself - now it's all about getting ready for Rio. I want to make history this summer but it isn't going to be easy.”
The same race saw another breakthrough performance for Andrew Butchart (Central, Scotland) who smashed the Scottish record in a brilliant fourth place. The old record had stood for 32 years until Butchart swept it aside with 7:45.00 to stake his claim alongside Farah in the Rio Olympics 5,000m. Butchart had already grabbed the Scottish 5,000m record from Nat Muir with 13:13.30 in Hengelo last month and had won the Vitality London 10,000 on the road in 28:28 less than a week before this prodigious effort.
Also on the programme at Birmingham was a top quality women’s 5000m featuring a superb sprint finish between diminutive Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot (15:12.79) and compatriot Mercy Cherono (15:12.85) in the best race of the day. Further down the field, Rio-bound UK 10,000m champion, Jess Andrews (Aldershot, 15:46.82) just edged European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey (Exeter, 15:47.64) in the battle of the Brits.