(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
BEIJING — Despite a valiant team effort by Kenya’s three best 10K runners, Britain’s Mo Farah retained the world 10,000m title he first earned two years ago in Moscow, clocking a fast 27:01.13 in hot, humid and slightly windy conditions. Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor, the reigning IAAF World Cross Country and World Half-Marathon champion, finished a fraction of a second behind in 27:01.76 to claim his first global track medal, followed by his compatriot Paul Tanui in 27:02.83. It was Tanui’s second consecutive bronze medal at these championships.
Once again Farah, 32, used his superior closing speed to claim victory. He finished the race with a blazing 2:28.81 final kilometer, topped by a 54.2-second final lap, despite a slight stumble just after the bell.
“I’ve never run 27 minutes in a championships,” Farah told reporters, marveling at the strong pace in such challenging conditions.
The Kenyans saw their best chance for victory tonight by working together to maintain a high pace, hoping to take the sting out of Farah’s kick. Kamworor, Tanui and their teammate Bedan Karoki worked together lap after lap to try to wear Farah down. Kamworor did most of the leading, running consistent 64 to 65-second laps.
“Not often you see three guys in the same country where, you know, where each one was sacrificing their own medal,” Farah observed. “They were working as a team. Someone had to miss out.”
Farah was as far back as 13th position at 3000m, but was clearly not in distress. He gently worked his way up to seventh position at 5000m (13:42.01), just one place behind his American training partner Galen Rupp.
“Before the pace picked up, I stopped for water and poured it over my head, and then from there I just stayed relaxed and calm,” Farah commented to British Athletics interviewers.
In the sixth kilometer, only five athletes remained in contention for a medal: Kamworor, Tanui, Karoki, Farah and Rupp. That group stayed together through the penultimate lap when Farah finally took the lead. Kamworor responded immediately, getting right on Farah’s heels, who stumbled briefly. It was still any man’s race with 200 meters to go, but Farah blasted away from his flagging rivals in the homestretch to secure the win.
“The last lap, that was close,” Farah admitted. “I honestly thought I was gone because I stumbled.”
Rupp wasn’t able to stay with the the three medalists in the final lap, and finished fifth behind Karoki in 27:08.91, a time which would have won the world title on ten previous occasions. Despite running such a quick time, Rupp was clearly disappointed and only spoke briefly with the media.
“I’m disappointed not to finish the top three,” Rupp said softly, his eyes lowered. “That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Kamworor appeared satisfied with his effort, and would turn his attention to training for the TCS New York City Marathon in November.
“For me I’m happy about second position,” Kamworor told reporters. “Of course, I was targeting to win. I was trying the best that I could. But, it was unfortunate that I did not win.
For Farah, these championships are far from over. He’ll line up for the first round of the 5000m on Wednesday, the first step in trying to win his third consecutive title at that distance.
“I’ve got three days to recover, so we’ll see,” Farah said.