Sir Mo Farah, Chris Thompson and Emile Cairess look ahead to the 2023 TCS London Marathon
How have you found final preparations?
Cairess: Everything has gone well. I’ve managed to do all the training that I’d planned, so when that happens I think you can’t ask for anything more than that. Every session has gone well so I’m really looking forward to the weekend.
Thompson: It’s refreshing to hear a young person be so positive. It’s a bit harder at my age to be 100% like that. It has been a decent build up. It seems like a different journey every time. This is my eighth marathon and I’m intrigued to see what will happen. I’m hoping this will set me up for the year. I don’t know if I’ve nailed every session like this chap here [pointing to Cairess] but as I’ve learned from marathons that doesn’t, for me personally, mean everything. I’m just excited to be here in the middle of these two and give it a bash and see if I can mix it up.
Farah: Last year I was definitely gutted. I was in decent shape and just got injured a week before the London Marathon but that’s athletics – it happens. But this year I’m back and I’m healthy, which is the key thing for me. I have been out in Ethiopia and training’s gone well, so hopefully we’ll see what we can do.
Can you [Farah] tell us about your recent run in Gabon?
Farah: I had a little run in Gabon – a 10K race. I went out there while I was in Ethiopia and that race was just to test myself and see what I can do, but the climate was really hot there and the key was always to prepare for the London Marathon. I had a lot of miles in my legs but at the same time in that race I was just kind of thinking it didn’t go as well as I wanted. But you’ve got to move on and now I’m healthy and hopefully I’ll be ready on Sunday and see what I can do.
It doesn’t worry you at all?
Farah: Not at all. I think you’ve got to look at not just one race but your training consistency – and for me the biggest thing is being able to do the training for so many weeks, which my body is allowing me. I’ve done some decent training over the last couple of months so I’m happy in terms of where I am. I’ve eased down this week and hopefully will just go into it.
Do you have any plans to do the World Championships marathon this year?
Farah: I’m not thinking about anything other than this race [the 2023 TCS London Marathon]. I have got a plan to do a couple more races after that, but I want to get London out of the way and then think about it. And in terms of the World Championships, I don’t plan to go out there and race.
Thompson: There’s no point worrying about trying to go [to the World Championships] because there’s no clear sign that any of us gets a selection, regardless of our result, so control the controllable. After this race I genuinely don’t know what the rest of this year holds, so I’ll see off the back of the result what may come of that. I’m just trying to get the best out of myself on Sunday and finally put last year and the two mess ups with the marathon behind me and actually still do something I’m proud of.
Cairess: I don’t have any plans to do the World Championships marathon, but hopefully I can qualify for the 10,000 metres if everything goes to plan.
How does it feel to be back at the London Marathon?
Farah: It’s nice to be back in London. I love London and this for me is home, where my journey started when I was a young boy doing the Mini London Marathon. I do enjoy London and this Sunday I’m looking forward to seeing the crowd and atmosphere and I think the key thing is to go out there and enjoy it.
What are your thoughts on the environmental protests?
Farah: I’ve not seen much [about the protests] as I was out in Ethiopia training. I think the London Marathon has always done a great job. You look over the years at what they’ve done and I think they’ll continue to do a great job. You just have to leave it to them. I’m sure they’ll do everything that they can. For me, I’m just excited to be back in London. There’s no better city than London.
Thompson: What a better statement for all these causes than thousands of people running the streets of London for health and wellbeing reasons and to raise money for charity. The race in itself is a statement. I’d like to think, if anything, the London Marathon as a sporting event stands out as something to aspire to do. My mum’s running her first marathon this Sunday and has pushed herself in ways she’s never before – and watching how she’s done that is a statement of intent and what running can do for health and wellbeing.
Cairess: As the London Marathon raises so much money for charity and good causes and the environment is like another good cause, I don’t think they should put themselves in front of other good causes and instead just respect the people raising money for charity this weekend. Then I’m sure the people raising money for charity this weekend will respect the environmental cause at a different time.
Are you [Cairess] going to learn the distance and take in the day or are you going in with a time in mind?
Cairess: I think it’s a bit of both. Like any race I want to perform my best and try to achieve a target. I think the primary target is to learn the race and have a good experience and then hopefully I can take that to future races where I can be more competitive with the top guys. This is just a platform for that I think. The marathon is where my future lies so hopefully, if everything goes well, I can try and be competitive in the marathon in Paris. I don’t see my future on the track but feel like it’s a valuable stepping stone you need to go through to do the marathon.