(Reuters) - Ethiopian long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele believes Mo Farah has struggled to flourish in the marathon events at the highest level and said he was not surprised by the Briton’s decision to return to the track.
Bekele, the second-fastest marathon runner of all-time, will take on world record holder Eliud Kipchoge at April’s London Marathon.
Meanwhile, Farah has scrapped plans to compete over the distance and will now chase a fifth Olympic track gold in the 10,000 metres race at this year’s Tokyo Games.
When asked about Farah’s decision to leave the marathon, Bekele told a media conference call: “I am not surprised. Of course if you see Mo Farah’s races in the marathons, he’s struggling.
“You need experience. It’s a different course, different racing mentality, so I think he made a good choice.
“It is really hard for all of us - the marathon is not easy. You need to learn how to run the marathon and also the training is different.”
Farah, who had retired from track athletics to focus on the marathon in 2017, broke the European record with his win at the 2018 Chicago Marathon but failed to impress in both London and Chicago last year.
The 36-year-old recently said that watching the 10,000 metres final at the world championships last October made him realise he had unfinished business with the track.
“If he focuses and concentrates like before, I’m sure he will be in the medals in the 10,000. I’ve no doubt about that,” Bekele added.
Bekele produced a stunning 2:01:41 run in Berlin last September but missed the marathon world record by two seconds.
He said the sight of Kipchoge’s completing at sub-two hour marathon run in Vienna last October, albeit in an unofficial event, has inspired him to break the world record even at the age of 37.
“When he ran under two hours, and of course it is not recognised, but it made me very motivated,” Bekele added.
“My big dream is to break the (official) world record and an amazing performance will happen at the London Marathon.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry