FORMER 1,500m world champion Steve Cram has said Mo Farah must not let his competitive streak get the better of him when he tackles this weekend’s London Marathon.
Farah will arguably be the star attraction in the country’s capital on Sunday (April 13) as he lines up for his first marathon.
Having captured gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m at the 2012 Olympic Games, the patriotic crowds which will pack the 26.2mile course will have high hopes for Farah.
Although Cram said he believed the 31-year-old had the potential to threaten Wilson Kipsang’s world record of 2hr 3min 23secs in the future, he told the Observer he did not expect him to win at his first attempt.
“It is all about getting experience in your first marathon, so for me I don’t mind if he finishes third, fourth or fifth,” Cram said.
“If he runs 2hrs 5mins 30secs and comes fourth then that’s brilliant as that’s a platform to move on because not many people run their best in their first marathon.
“Also if it is a bad experience then it is going to be difficult psychologically to come back from that.”
Cram said he was also not too worried about Farah’s incident in New York last month where he collapsed after finishing the half-marathon. But the 53-year-old insisted Farah must run his own race and not get involved in a battle with his rivals, which will include defending champion Tsegaye Kebede and race favourite Stephen Kiprotich.
“In your first marathon you almost have to race the distance and not the competitors, but the danger for Mo is that he is a great competitor and he could get too carried away too earlier,” he added.
“It will be interesting to see how his competitors treat him. They’re more experienced, so they may coax him into doing things earlier than he may want to.
“He needs to say ‘I am going to run 2hrs 5mins 30secs and I am going to stick to that plan’. There was a guy last year who hit the front at 21 miles and looked great, but two miles later the wheels fell off and that’s what happens if you get too carried away.
“But Mo has been talking to Paula (Radcliffe) and other people about this, so he knows he has got to respect the distance.”
*Steve Cram was speaking to the Observer at the launch of Worcester City 10k, Run Bike Run and Young Athletes Run, which takes place on Sunday, September 21,
To register or for more information visit www.worcestercityrun.com/