Mo Farah on his way to winning the 5000m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (© Getty Images)
Once again the question has to be posed, just how do you beat Mo Farah?
The Briton notched up the distance double over 5000m and 10,000m for his fourth successive major championship, winning over the shorter distance at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 in 13:50:58.
The slow early pace played to Farah’s strength of having an almost unmatchable speed over the final kilometre. Although Kenya’s 2014 Diamond Race winner Caleb Ndiku tried to blunt Farah’s powers of acceleration with a long surge and attack with just over two laps to go, in the end, when Farah moved around the Kenyan with flaming red hair on the last bend, he doused Ndiku’s fire once and for all.
It was Farah’s compatriot Tom Farrell who towed the field through a pedestrian first kilometre as the 15 men settled into ambling around in single file with Farah right at the back.
Farrell continued at the front and the pace increased just marginally over the next kilometre as 2000m was reached in 5:58.69 as Farah continued to stay out of trouble at the rear.
With six laps to go, just after the halfway point, Ethiopia’s Imane Merga moved to the front and injected a modicum of pace to pass 3000m in 8:47.28 as Farah steadily moved his way up the field to sit on Merga’s shoulder.
The Briton then started to control the pace from the front for much of the next kilometre, passing 4000m in 11:51.18 as Bahrain’s Albert Rop and Ethiopian teenage prodigy Yomif Kejelcha decided to tuck themselves in behind Farah. But all 15 men were still in contention with one kilometre to go and less than one second covered the field at this point.
The decisive moment of the race came with just over two laps to go as Ndiku darted to the front and started a long run for home. Farah covered the move but looked as though he didn’t have enough in reserve to beat the Kenyan.
At the bell the effect of the change in pace showed on most of the runners' faces, whose grimaces taut and twisted with the effort.
Down the back straight for the last time it looked as though Farah was beaten but he dug deep and hauled himself past Ndiku with 140 metres to go and managed to hold him off through to the line before collapsing to the track after winning his 10th major championship gold medal since 2011.
Ndiku got his first outdoor global championship medal as a senior, crossing the line in 13:51.75.
Ethiopia's 2013 silver medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet was passed by Kejelcha on the bend but then re-passed his compatriot with 50 metres to go to take the bronze in 13:51.86.
“I didn't feel great, my hammy (hamstring) was playing up a bit, but the medical team helped me through it," Farah told the BBC. "Tonight to come out here and make a double means so much to me.
“I was kind of getting nervous for the first time in a little while, but thanks to all the medical team. It was amazing to do it."
Farah's pregnant wife Tania and young family were not in Beijing, but back at his home in the US city of Portland, where he trains for much of the year.
“I am so looking forward to spending time with my family," he added. "I just want to go home and celebrate with them.”
Farah has not divulged his post-Beijing race plans but, basking in the glory of his Beijing double, it would be no surprise if this was his last track race of 2015.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF