Masters of their domains: Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford, by Larry Eder



Greg Rutherford, Mo Farah, Newcastle United football pitch, photo by Larry Eder

The ability to draw sports media to an event is an acquired skill. Some are good at it, some are, well, quite bad at it. The Great Run team were running on all cylinders when they brought Greg Rutherford, Mo Farah, Jo Pavey and Gemma Steel to the Newcastle United fieldhouse for the presser.

But that was not the story, nor the draw.

Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford were to try their skills against Peter Beardesly, Newcastle United coach, and former Liverpool footballer, who also wore the British vest many times. Greg was quite good at scoring, Mo was quite good at goal keeping and Peter Beardesly was old school, showing some tricks he has acquired over the years.

What was really fun about the event is that the athletes really wanted to be at Newcastle.

Mo Farah, with his Arsenal vest on, was having a great time.

Greg Rutherford, whose great grandfather played for Newcastle and is one of the oldest ever to wear the English vest in major competitions, was having a great day.

After speaking to both of them, it was clear that the end of the season could not have come soon enough, that the City Games for Greg and Great North Run for Mo, were the icing on the cake.

Greg Rutherford told the media at the beginning of the season that he was focused on one thing and one thing only: a medal at the World Championships. Taking control early with his 8.29 meters in the final, Rutherford watched as some of the best long jumpers in the world could not control their speed on the swift long jump runway. Rutherford stayed within himself and extended his lead to 8.41 meters.

"8.41 is a pretty good solid jump and it gave me the gold medal...I would like to win in Rio and, if I am feeling well, in London. A second worlds and Olympics would be something..."

Rutherford_Greg1a-Beijing15.jpgRutherford soars, World Champs 2015, photo by

Greg Rutherford is the best competitive long jumper in the world. When the going gets tough, when the winds are bad, and the surface is overly fast, Rutherford performs. It is, as if, he needs the craziness of the outside world to help him focus.

Greg was quite relaxed, and actually invited Usain Bolt to long jump against him. A very fun idea! Rutherford is one of the best interviews, and a genuine nice guy who is as competitive as anyone I have ever seen. Rutherford likes to win, and he knows he needs to get that next big jump.

Greg Rutherford went back to Coach Dan Pfaff last year. Pfaff is the mason grice of the long jump world. He and Rana Reider know the LJ and TJ like few others. Pfaff is showing Rutherford how to improve his jumping, so he can find that 20 centimeters that Greg knows is there.

" I love the City Games. If there were enough of them, I would compete in these. I like being outside, and close to the fans. It is a great event for the sport." beamed a very content Rutherford.

Farah_Mo5kFLW-Beijing15.JPGMo Farah, after the 5000m WC, photo by

Mo Farah has had a summer of agony and ecstacy.

First he set British records for 2 miles and a European record for the half in the winter and spring.

Then, he won the 10,000m at Prefontaine on May 29.

After that, all hell broke loose. A poorly edited and constructed PBS special feature, that had attempted to go on air for nearly two years, finally comes ona week before Birmingham DL. Accusing Alberto Salazar, the coach of Mo Farah of cheating, it suggested that all around Salazar were possibly guilty of cheating. Mo Farah showed up at the Birmingham presser, with all but two of the questions on drugs, and he was truly defeated afterwards. Mo flew back to the states, in distress. While not the move one might think of with cooler heads, Mo was in the middle of s storm.

With the cloud of accusations around him, Mo focused on his training and raced in mid July in Lausanne, over 5000 meters, then, a 1,500 meters in Monaco, and finally, a 3000 meters in London.

Raced to fitness, Mo Farah handled the combined effort of three Kenyans in the 10,000 meters in Beijing and won with a grueling last 1000 meters. Four days later, after heats and such, Mo Farah survived a 1:48.5 last 800 meters, dropped a 26 second last 200 meters and the 5000 meters was his.

Mo had fun today, playing a bit of football.

He was so relaxed, he borrowed by brother Brian's camera and shot a really nice picture of us. Mo has not been like this in a couple of years. He knows his season is about to end, and he wants to race well on Sunday, but he is not getting worked up over it.

larry@brianbyMo.jpgBrothers Eder: Larry and Brian, photographed by Mo Farah

Mo Farah is one of the best racers that I have ever seen over 5000 meters and 10,000 meters. That is the skill that Alberto Salazar has helped hone: the ability to use one's best skill set, be it a quick last 100 meters or 200 meters, or a gut wrenching 1000 meters, with each section getting progressively faster.

Keen observer of the sport Maury Plant, who spent some time with me in Beijing, insists that Mo Farah could have the 10,000 meter world record, if he wanted it.

Like Greg Rutherford, Mo Farah is a master of his domain.

Rutherford and Farah like to compete. They may neither ever have a world record, but they will kick said world record holder in various competitions, nine of ten times.

Rutherford and Farah like to win. They would not have won the titles that they have without a desire to be the best at their disciplines.

The football today was fun, but it was a big deal to both of them. Farah and Rutherford are sportsmen, and they fancy themselves pretty good at most activities.

For Greg Rutherford, the long jump along the Tyne River in Newcaste on Saturday, September 12, is the next competition. For Mo Farah, the half marathon around Newcastle on Sunday, September 13, is his final competition for 2015.

Nothing else matters right now.

Masters of their domains, Rutherford and Farah look ahead, eleven months, to Rio 2016.

Watch them.

Cheer for them.

Be amazed by them.

We may not see the likes of them for a long, long time.

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