At 40, Mo Farah put an end to his brilliant sports career

After the two-time Olympic championship and the three-time world championship in both the 5,000 and the 10,000 meters, the time came for a crude confession of trafficking during his childhood. “Running saved me,” he said after an emotional last race at the Great North Run in England.

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“Sir Mo”, the best British racer of all time.
“Sir Mo”, the best British racer of all time.

The echoes of the starting signal haven’t faded yet and he’s already installed at the end of the platoon. The laps go by and he remains alone behind everyone, a location that, far from making him desperate, allows him to dominate the situation. Suddenly his gait grows and he gets involved: in the blink of an eye, he’s a champion of everything.

Owner of a patented style turned into a formula for eternal glory in long-distance events, Mo Farah said goodbye to sports at the age of 40 in the Great North Run, the traditional half marathon in the northeast of England that he was able to win six times and in which last Sunday he crossed the finish line in fourth place with a time of 1:03:28 and a number that spelled “SIR MO”.

“Running is everything to me, it’s what saved me,” confessed the best British long-distance runner in history after a final race in which he ended up acclaimed and clashing his hands with the spectators. “It’s very exciting; now I can go and enjoy my time with my wife (Tania Nell) and my children (Amani, Aisha and Rhianna)”, added the Arsenal Football Club fan, where he acknowledged that he would love to work after his retirement.

His curriculum, with its own voice, scares any detractor: four Olympic gold medals, six gold medals and two world silver medals and five gold medals and one European silver medals, all in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters between 2010 and 2017.

Along with Finland’s Lasse Virén, they are the only athletes to have won both of the above categories in two consecutive Olympic Games. Farah did it in London 2012 and Rio 2016. The first double win came before the ovation of 75,000 people. The second, a show of resilience and pure epic: in the 10 kilometers not a fall denied him being an Olympic champion. In turn, it holds British records in 1,500 m, 5,000 m, 10,000 m, half marathon and marathon.

After the 2017 World Cup in London, the decline of his career was marked by his foray into road racing and by recurrent injuries, which he described as his great fight in recent years. In part, both factors explain his inability to reach the minimum mark that would qualify him for Tokyo 2021. In 2022, a hip injury left him out of the London Marathon.

Driven by his children, Farah revealed in July last year in a BBC documentary that he had been a victim of human trafficking and child trafficking. Born Hussein Abdi Kahin in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, he was separated from his family and sent to the United Kingdom illegally under the name of another boy to act as a domestic servant.

He successfully emerged from an arduous legal battle at the age of 17, when he obtained British citizenship under his current name, which enabled him to compete internationally without barriers. A sensible summary diagnosis came from his lips: “What really saved me and made me different was that I could run”, described the, now, former athlete.