Belgium’s Bashir Abdi has the European record in his sights on Sunday
Bashir Abdi will race the TCS London Marathon on Sunday just two months after winning a bronze medal at the World Championships in Oregon. It was a second global bronze for the European record holder in less than a year, following his third-place finish at last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
This will be Abdi’s second appearance at the London Marathon, after he was seventh in 2019. He spoke to us before Sunday’s race.
Bashir Abdi (BEL)
On how he has prepared for the TCS London Marathon after his medal-winning run in Oregon:
“I had a two-and-a-half week break, but then it wasn’t easy to re-start training. Every part of my body was hurting. I felt like I’d never run before and I was a little worried I would never get my shape back.
“But it did come back and I am very happy with what I have done in the last five weeks. I was in Font Romeu in France until yesterday, training with my team.”
On his training partner Sir Mo Farah (GBR) pulling out of Sunday’s race:
“I have been very close to Mo for the last eight weeks and he surprised me in different ways. The training he was doing was really incredible.
“People saw what he did here in London at The Big Half on 4 September and he was still running 120K a week then, he wasn’t tapering at all. After that he was so excited to train harder for the TCS London Marathon.
“Things were going very well. Then, sadly, his hip started bothering him. I think he made the best decision to pull out, not to make things worse, and to come back next year.
“He’s been my mentor over the years. He’s my eye-opener. Because of him I started to believe more, that I could achieve more, that I could win medals and run fast. It’s so sad that he’s not here with me on Sunday.
“With the right preparation I am 100 per cent sure he can run fast again and will be one of the fastest guys in the world. With the marathon, you have to prepare well and if he gives himself time in the next three or four years, he can be fast, definitely.”
On how he has changed since he ran London in 2019:
“It is the dream of every athlete to win a World Major Marathon, especially London. It’s a little more special here than the others. The organisation is incredible and the atmosphere on the streets is something you never find anywhere else.
“I hope I do better this time, but there are many guys in the field who have run faster than me. After last Sunday [when Kipchoge broke the world record] everybody is very excited that something crazy can happen.”
On his chances of being the first European London Marathon men’s champion since Portugal’s Antonio Pinto in 2000:
“It would be amazing to change that history. But it depends what the Ethiopians and the Kenyans do.
“I’m more focused on the time. If the time is fast, I hope it will bring me a great place.
“But it’s one of those races where you have the pressure of the best athletes on the Start Line and you don’t know what to do. I’m just excited and very hopeful for Sunday.”
On trying to emulate Vincent Rousseau, who was second in 1996, the only previous Belgian London Marathon medallist:
“Yeah, it would be great. But the evolution of the marathon since then means it has changed so much and it is now so hard.
“So it is really difficult to predict a place or time for Sunday. I will just see what happens and based on the information we get while running I will make the right decisions.”
On his chances of breaking his own European record of 2:03:36:
“If you look at the start list I think they will go fast, so yeah, it’s possible. It would be amazing to break it again.
“But I ran the record in Rotterdam [in 2021] and I know the course there very well. I ran here in 2019 and don’t really remember that much of the course. I remember the organisation and the atmosphere.
“So, for sure, the field is strong enough, but it’s whether the course is fast enough. We’ll have to see.”
On what makes the London Marathon special:
“The organisation is just incredible. But also the field every year is loaded with elite athletes and the streets are filled with people. The people of London love this race. The atmosphere is something I never experienced anywhere else. It is really incredible.”