9. Mo Farah Hits the Big Time

British runner emerges as the world’s best non-marathon distance runner after moving to Oregon

Mo Farah en route to a silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea

Mo Farah en route to a winning a silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea     Photo: Erik van Leeuwen/Wikimedia

Kenyans owned the marathon in 2011, but from 3,000 meters to the half marathon, a Somali refugee with British citizenship living in the United States put together a near-perfect season.

After joining Alberto Salazar’s Nike-funded training group in Portland, Oregon in February, 27-year-old Mo Farah defeated a world champion in his debut half-marathon, set a British record for 5,000 meters indoors, beat one of the finest 10,000-meter fields ever assembled at the Prefontaine Classic, broke his own British record for 5,000 meters outdoors, and, finally, won silver and gold at the world championships in Korea. This after failing to finish higher than seventh at a major championship before 2011.

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