British distance great Mo Farah found himself top of the podium again with a third victory in the ‘Big Half’ -- a London half-marathon -- on Sunday.
Farah’s win, a month ahead of the London Marathon proper, followed the four-time Olympic champion’s shock defeat by club runner Ellis Cross in a 10 kilometre race in London in May.
That reverse led to a fresh debate over whether the 39-year-old Farah, who won double Olympic gold (5,000m and 10,000m) at both the 2012 and 2016 Games, should retire from competitive racing.
But he was out on front in south London on Sunday, crossing the finish line in Greenwich in a time of 61 minutes and 49 seconds after surging clear of the field in the final three miles of a 13.1-mile course.
Jack Rowe was second and defending champion Jake Smith third.
“Today wasn’t easy but most important is the win and it is nice to be back,” Farah told BBC Sport.
Somalia-born Farah, who in July revealed he had been illegally trafficked into Britain as a child, added: “The key thing for me today was to try and win, no matter what happened.
“It was to play around with things, pick up my drink and all practice ahead of the London Marathon.”
Scotland’s Commonwealth Games gold medallist Eilish McColgan won the elite women’s race with a record time of 67.34 minutes but unlike Farah, she will not be competing in the London Marathon.
McColgan suffered an adverse reaction while refuelling during long-distance races and has been diagnosed with rebound hypoglycemia -- a condition affecting endurance athletes that leads to reduced blood sugar levels and means there is not enough glucose in the blood to meet the body’s demands.
But McColgan stuck to water on Sunday as she bettered Charlotte Purdue’s time of 69.51 minutes last year.
“To run a two-minute course record, I can’t ask any more,” she said.
Turning to the London Marathon, McColgan added: “It is disappointing and if it was up to me I would probably try and batter on, muscle through but I know that is my heart speaking and the sensible decision is to get everything right for April (when the 2023 edition will be staged).
“The good thing is it is only seven months. I would be more frustrated if it was a full year to wait.”