Farah ready for NYC Half Marathon
Track world champion ready for road-course tune-up ahead of London Marathon
Alas, no youngster could sprint past Farah as the group ran laps around the third-floor gymnasium. So, Farah has maintained his unbeaten streak in New York, having won the 2011 NYC Half in 1:00:23. The competition this weekend will be much stiffer, though, and certainly much taller.
Meb Keflezighi and Jason Hartmann, the highest American finisher at the Boston Marathon the past two years, are the top American contenders. Ethiopian Tesfaye Girma (1:00:35 PR) and Kenyan Stephen Sambu (1:00:41) should also be in the mix.
After his jog with the students, Farah sat down with the media. He has been training in Kenya for the past two months and looked extremely fit. His wiry legs were lost somewhere in his baggy track pants, and on this frigid day he wore a stocking cap over his ball cap.
"I'm in great shape," he said, though he didn't give a specific time goal.
Besides the competition, his primary focus will be practicing his fluid intake, something he messed up when he missed a fluid table during his practice run at the 2013 London Marathon. Farah ran the first part of that race as a training session, then purposely dropped out at the halfway point.
When asked what he drinks during his longer races, like the half and full marathons, Farah only said, "I have been practicing, but I can't say what I've been practicing with."
His analysis of the rest of his recent training was also vague. He didn't offer any specifics about the kinds of runs he had been doing or any workouts that have given an indication of his fitness level. Farah's response to a question about his coach, Alberto Salazar, who drew criticism for his recent protests at the 2014 USATF Indoor Championships last month, was his most direct of the day.
The NYC Half starts on the east side of Central Park and takes runners around the northern end of the park and back down the west side before spitting them out on Seventh Avenue. There the course cuts through the heart of midtown, and then pulls a hard right into Times Square, a neighborhood usually jam-packed with tourists and impossible to run through.
The runners will continue on to the West Side Highway and cover the final 5.1 miles around the southern tip of Manhattan to the finish line next to City Hall. Race officials expect 20,000 finishers, and the men's and women's winners will each earn $20,000. The forecast is for a clear day with a temperature in 40s.
Farah is contemplating doing the marathon in the 2016 Olympics, though his move up doesn't mean he'll stick exclusively to the roads. After London, he plans to return to the track at the Diamond League meet in Glasgow in July.
"If that goes well, I'll do another track race," Farah says of his summer season.
Perhaps the most surprising detail Farah mentioned didn't have anything to do with either of his next two races, but rather the dream matchup that every sports fan wants: a showdown between him and his buddy Usain Bolt at a distance somewhere between 500 and 600 meters.
"It will happen at some point," Farah said. "It will happen before I retire."
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