Sir Mo Farah discovered the loneliness of the long distance non-runner in Doha last Friday (12 January) when he was unable to start his first major road race since retiring from track racing, citing a tight achilles tendon.
The Ooredoo Doha Half Marathon was chosen as a shake down for the stiffer challenge posed by The Big Half in London on 4 March, where Farah will face Callum Hawkins in the battle for the British title in a dress rehearsal for Virgin Money London Marathon the following month.
With more important races imminent, Sir Mo was not tempted to chance a twinging tendon and he withdrew after warming up for the race. It is ironic that after never missing a major global event through injury, with four Olympic gold medals and six World Championship titles to his name, the world's greatest track athlete was reduced to the role of spectator through the only known weakness of Achilles from Greek mythology.
In Farah's absence the top two men were Kenya's Alex Kibet (1:01:53) and Bernard Korir (1:02:07) ahead of a highly encouraging run by Chris Thompson (Aldershot, 1:03:03) for third. The women's race featured a dominant performance by USA's Allie Kiefer (1:10:40), who was two minutes clear of Britain's Gemma Steel (Bideford, 1:12:37 PB). Kenya's Faith Chepkoech (1:12:44) was a close third and pushed Steel to her new personal best.
British category winners in Doha Half Marathon included M45 Jason Kitchen (1:23:23) and W45 Tina Chanterelle (1:43:18).
There was further British success in the supporting Doha 10K race. Eilish McColgan (Dundee Hawkhill, 31:53) revised her PB to win the women's race - by nearly nine minutes. Age group winners included M45 Lee Bennett (39:45) and W55 Alison Russell (51:02).