The party line was one of reassurance but Mo Farah’s collapse at the end of yesterday’s New York City Half Marathon will certainly be cause for concern as the athlete prepares for London. Farah, accidentally tripped at the 6 mile point, lay unconscious for around three minutes after finishing the race.
The double Olympic champion was taken away in a wheelchair, yet did not require further medical attention. In an apologetic message to his fans, Farah later tweeted: “Hi guys…I'm doing ok…thanks for the concern…disappointed with today.. I gave 110%...couldn't do any more... sorry guys....”
His trip occurred at the mid-point of the race and resulted in Farah taking a hard fall on the whole of his right hand side. Despite regaining his stride quickly, he lost valuable time on the eventual winner, Geoffrey Mutai, who secured victory in a time of 60:50. Farah finished in 61:07 - only 8 seconds outside of his Britsh record - yet the exertions of making up ground on Mutai, and overtaking Kenyan Stephen Sambu, clearly showed when he collapsed just metres beyond the finish line.
Reflecting on the fall, and his subsequent push to catch up with Mutai, Farah commented: “My aim was to just close the gap slowly, but I couldn't quite close the gap. And then the last four miles I struggled a bit. I couldn't quite get Mutai, but managed to get second place. Sometimes things happen out of your control and you've just got to move on.”
The conditions in New York, which is in the midst of its harshest winter in years, will no doubt have contributed to the scenes at the end; Farah has spent the past three months altitude training in the heat of Iten.
While Farah’s second-place finish still represents a strong showing - especially considering the circumstances - it re-emphasises the difficulties associated with making the transition from track to road running. It remains to be seen whether this setback will unsettle Farah’s preparations, and confidence, as London approaches, and whether this evolution from track star to marathon champion can be fully realised.