18 Feb

Half Way House Shaky Decision For Mo

Mo Farah celebrates Olympic success

Reaction has been mixed to the announcement that Mo Farah, Britain's No 1 running hero, plans to take part in this year's London marathon, but to drop out at half-way. Runners around the country will be intrigued to find out how the double Olympian fares when he takes that well-trodden path from 5k/10k to the classic endurance test of 26.2 miles but Mo's London plan is proving controversial.

Paula Radcliffe led the scepticism reflecting widespread opinion: "Honestly, I find it a little bit strange - it's not what I would have done. Either you find a good half marathon somewhere or you take the plunge and attack the distance and race it. Here he's caught between two stools. For me, you go into the London Marathon when you're ready to do it and attack it hard. But everybody has different reasons."

Farah launched his 2013 campaign with a comfortable win at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham on Saturday. The Londoner was the unchallenged winner of the 3,000m event and thrilled a big crowd with his trademark 'Mobot' post-race celebration. Mo now heads to New Orleans where he will take part in the Rock'n'Roll half marathon on Sunday.

The big target for this year is the World Championships in Moscow where Mo will be desperate to win the 10,000m title - he lost out by just 0.29 in Daegu in 2011 - and defend his 5,000m title. Running a full marathon just four months before the World Championships would be far from ideal preparation. So there's no danger that Mo will 'just keep going' after 13 miles in London.

This will be the first time that London Marathon has offered an athlete the chance to run a half marathon as part of its race, a distance at which Farah already holds the British record after debuting in New York in 2011, with a winning 60 minutes 23 seconds. Mo's acceptance of the offer suggests not only a 'staged' promotional stunt but an uncertainty about how the Farah team will manage the Somalian-born superstar's transition from track to road.

Farah says he will step up to debut over the full marathon distance in 2014 although he has also indicated an interest in taking part in the Commonwealth Games next year in Glasgow.

Asked about the 'half-way house' in London, Mo's response was unconvincing: "I think practice makes perfect. The more practice you do the better chance of getting it right. It's not just about running in the marathon. It's about dealing with everything - making sure you've got the carbs the night before. Getting up and going on the bus to the start. It's going to be perfect practice."