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Sir Mo Farah in The Big Half 2023

Sir Mo Signs Off At The Big Half

World Championship spots secured in London's community half marathon...

Sir Mo Farah's sign-off from his glittering racing career did not quite go according to plan as he was unable to achieve a record fourth victory in The Big Half in his hometown on Sunday (3 September). 

After feeling unwell before the event he had considered withdrawing but the attraction of competing one last time in the city where he won two of his four Olympic gold medals proved irresistible: “I wasn’t feeling too well yesterday and I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to run,” said Sir Mo. “But I had so much support and as it was my last race here in London, I just felt I needed to do it. If I hadn’t run, that would have been it. I got up this morning and was feeling OK but the guys at the front pushed the pace and it was a bit of a struggle."

The party poopers who pushed the pace after a group of four broke clear on Tower Bridge were the eventual winner Jack Rowe (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC, 1:01:08 PB), runner-up Mahamed Mahamed (Southampton AC, 1:01:16 PB) and third-placed Andy Butchart (Central AC, 1:02:15 PB) with all three gaining selection for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Riga, Latvia on 1 October.

Sir Mo finished his final London race in 62:43 for fourth place and a British Masters M40 record in a race that had been officially started by his wife Lady Tania Farah and his four children – Rhianna, Aisha, Amani, and Hussein.    

The women's race saw Calli Thackery (Hallamshire Harriers, 1:09:15), Rose Harvey (Clapham Chasers, 1:10:02 PB) and Abbie Donnelly (Lincon Wellington 1:10:31 PB) claim podium places and tickets to Riga for the World Championships. Donnelly had never previously raced 13.1 miles seriously and took 14 minutes off her only previous attempt back in 2016. As in the men's race, the top three achieved the qualifying time for Riga and were selected for the World Champs Half Marathon. 

There were 20,000 participants in London's community festival of running that included the New Balance Big Relay with 154 teams of four runners and The Big Mile for youngsters with around 2,000 people taking part in a free, mass participation event held on the same finishing stretch as The Big Half. 

This was the sixth The Big Half and the biggest and best race to date with more than 16,000 running the main event and the crowds out in force to bid a fond London farewell to the greatest British distance runner of all time, whose closing words were saved for his army of adoring fans: “Overall, I know I have achieved medals but if I didn’t have the support or the people who believed in me, I wouldn’t be here today. I want to say thank you to everyone who has come out and given me support.”

Link to results and previous event reports are available via runABC South race listing here.

Photos courtesy of The Big Half/London Marathon Events

The Big Mile start 2023​​​​​​​

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