Mo Farah will be looking to cement his reputation as one of the greatest distance runners of all time after cruising into the final of the 5,000-metre event at the World Championships in Moscow.
The double Olympic champion took the fifth and final automatic qualifying position in his heat on Tuesday, finishing in a time of 13 minutes, 23.93 seconds.
If he triumphs in Friday’s final, Farah will make history, emulating the great Kenenisa Bekele by winning the 5,000-metre and the 10,000-metre double in both the Olympics and the World Championships.
The defending 2011 champion put in an assured performance, maintaining a steady pace throughout the contest before taking it upon himself to inject some impetus 1,000 metres from home. That surge came before clearly shutting down with 200 metres to go, well aware he had done enough to qualify.
Per the BBC, Farah alluded to the importance of conserving energy ahead of what promises to be one of the biggest nights of his career:
“You have to do the job without going crazy. I wanted to run comfortably and not sprint all out and tire myself out for the Friday.”
There were some fears that Farah might suffer from burnout after a brutal schedule and a tough 10,000-metre final on Saturday, but he looked suitably unflustered throughout Tuesday’s heat. So much so that he even had time to share a few words with training partner Galen Rupp as the pair began to slow in the home straight, via Simon Hart of The Telegraph.
“We looked across and with the top five qualifying we knew were going to do that, so it was about saving as much energy as we could.”
With this in mind, Farah looks in excellent shape to go on to defend his 5,000-metre title and replicate the great Bekele.
Farah has already spoken this week of how important his experience of not just competing in these high-profile events is—but also digging deep and winning them.
That counts for so much in these finals, as we saw in Farah’s remarkable 10,000 victory Saturday night.
You suspect nothing is going to stop Farah from coming out on top again Friday. History beckons.