Mo Farah of Great Britain joined the ranks of men who have successfully defended their 10,000m title, running 27:05.17 for the win on Saturday night.
Farah, who has won every global title on offer at this distance and is unbeaten over 25 laps of the track since 2011, took a tumble at halfway when an accidental clip from his sometime training partner Galen Rupp saw him sprawled out in lane two.
He bounced to his feet immediately and gave Rupp a thumbs-up when Rupp came back to check on him.
“I thought about all my hard work, and that it could all be gone in a minute. I wasn’t going to let it go. I got up quickly,” Farah told reporters later.
The mishap immediately drew comparisons to Lasse Viren’s near-disastrous fall in the 1972 final in Munich, but Farah’s position was never so precarious as that of the Finn. Farah spent the early going loping at the very back of the pack as a rotating cast of faces took turns at the front.
He only moved up when, in the third kilometre, Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola and Yigrem Demelash took the pace up a notch.
Within a few laps it became clear that Tola and Demelash were working together to force the pace. Each would take a turn at the front, pushing, then letting the other take over as their own effort flagged.
The Kenyan duo of Geoffrey Kamworor and Paul Tanui shadowed the Ethiopians, apparently understanding the plan but not ready to take their turn at the front right away.
It wasn’t until the second half of the race – not long after Farah’s tumble, which happened out of view of the five at the front – that the Kenyans took a shift in the lead.
From 1000m to 5000m, each kilometre got faster, but the sixth slowed slightly as the Ethiopian duo began to run more cautiously.
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