After a defeat by a club runner who paid £37 to be there, Mo Farah has nowhere left to run… hopes of one final track medal this year seem to have gone with 39-year-old’s Vitality 10k shock second place
- Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah was beaten by a club runner in the race
- Ellis Cross earned £2,000 after winning the Vitality 10k in London on Monday
- Cross had paid to enter the race and Farah admitted he had never heard of him
- Farah conceded that ‘might be it’ for his track career at the age of 39
The symbolism wasn’t even necessary. That’s because it is one thing to be dethroned in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, as Sir Mo Farah was on Monday, but quite another when defeat is inflicted by a club runner who paid £37 to be there.
When it was done, with Ellis Cross beating the four-time Olympic champion to the Vitality 10k title, Farah had nowhere left to run. At the age of 39, he admitted this might be the end of his golden line.
That meant ruling out a tilt at the World Championships this summer, and then accepting it would require an unlikely resurgence in form and fitness to reach the lesser stages of the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, which follow in July and August.
Mo Farah admitted the Vitality 10k might be the end of his stellar career in the sport
There will probably be another lucrative appearance in a marathon, most likely on the roads of London in October, but for now his hopes of one final track medal seem to have gone with his second-placed finish in the capital, where he was four seconds behind Cross, who won in 28 min 40 sec.
‘It’s a challenge,’ Farah said, having wrestled with serious foot and quad injuries since his last race in June. ‘I’m not a spring chicken any more. I’m just being honest with you guys – in terms of track running, that’s it, I think.
‘I think the Europeans and Commonwealths there is potential but with the World Champs, because I’ve been there and done it, unless I can compete with the guys and be competitive, you’ve got to kind of be honest and make that decision. At the minute I think I’ve got a lot of work to get back into it and race again and be in decent shape.’
Club runner Ellis Cross, centre, paid £37 to enter the race but saw off the likes of Farah
This was the sort of day that highlights the scale of the climb, though the identity of the winner was as heartening in its own right as it was an indicator that Farah is a long way past his best. It is worth recognising that Farah has lost six of the past nine months to his injuries, but in Cross there was a delight of a parallel story.
Aged 25, he had peaked as a former national junior cross-country champion, and had finished only ninth in the British championships for the 10,000m last summer. More recently he has been working in a sports shop in Surbiton and paying off his student debt – by Farah’s admission, he had never heard of him.
That the chap in bib No 219 was alongside one of the most successful runners in history through the first eight kilometres was a surprise to everyone, including Cross. To then out-kick the seven-time winner of this race was astonishing.
The 39-year-old ended four seconds behind Cross, who Farah admitted he had never heard of
‘I haven’t followed the script have I?’ Cross said. ‘I didn’t believe it until 20 metres from the line when I thought, ‘I think I might be able to win this race’, and then just gave it absolutely everything I had. I managed to hold on. I’m absolutely delighted.’
Thereafter, Cross, a runner for Aldershot, Farnham & District, was beaming at learning he would take £2,000 for winning.
‘I didn’t get an elite entry – I paid £37 to get in,’ Cross said. ‘I had to wake at 6am and take the train in. I don’t have my name on my bib. When I was running round everyone was calling Mo’s name because they know who he is. No one knows who I am. I’m just a club runner. I just wanted a hard run out – I didn’t even wear my watch.’
Eilish McColgan won the women’s event in 20:23, two seconds shy of Paula Radcliffe’s course record.