London, Feb 17: Olympic hero Mo Farah has been accused of undermining the spirit of the London Marathon after he signed a lucrative deal to run just half the race.
The double Olympic gold medalist is being paid 250,000 pounds by sponsor Virgin to run half the course at this year’s 26-mile race and a further 500,000 pounds for the full race in 2014.
According to the Daily Mail, Farah said that running half the race will help him ‘understand the course’ in preparation for the following year.
His fellow athletes expressed bemusement at the ‘race within a race’ arrangement and the extent to which organisers are prepared to go to accommodate the 29-year-old runner’s wishes.
Paula Radcliffe, who has won the women’s race in London three times, questioned Farah’s decision and said that she found the deal a bit strange adding that it was nothing she had done.
According to the report, former Olympic triple-jumping champion Jonathan Edwards called it ‘odd’, while Steve Cram, one of the world’s top middle-distance runners in the Eighties, said the plan was ‘difficult to comprehend’.
A Virgin London Marathon spokeswoman denied Farah’s decision was at odds with the race’s ethos, saying he wasn’t competing but simply taking part.
Farah, who won Olympic gold over 10,000 and 5,000 meters in London last year, has always said he would eventually move up to the full marathon, the report said.
His coach, Alberto Salazar, suggested he might aim for a marathon and 10,000m double at the Rio Olympics in 2016, it added. (ANI)