For most of us who live outside of the UK it has been hard (for me at least) to watch a version of the recent Mo Farah documentary with any audio. Anyhow after multiple attempts, Iâ€™ve finally been able to type-up a review and start some much needed discussion on this. The Mo documentary offers up many interesting insights, some contradictions and some questionable moments. I apologize if there are other better threads on this topic and I must also apologize now to my North American friends for my use of the Queenâ€™s English (â€˜Uâ€™s and â€˜Sâ€™s). Feel free to troll this post, I know that you will anyway.
The story starts with Moâ€™s talent being evident from a young age, he is shown early on winning a cross-country race by a long, long way.
The narrator states @ 44 secs, â€œachieving the impossible, two gold medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m,â€ but that feat was completed at the previous Olympics (2008) by Kenenisa Bekele not to mention Emil Zatopek (1952), Vladimir Kuts (1956), Lasse Viren (1972 & 1976) and Miruts Yifter (1980) so it is not as uncommon as being pushed by the narrator although it is a marvellous achievement.
The diary of Moâ€™s build up to Rio starts of in Jan 2016 (@1:50)
Interestingly, the title says â€œEdinburgh World Cross Countryâ€ @ 2:18. Actually this was the Great Edinburgh Cross Countryâ€ or is there now some sort off world cross-country tour that includes Edinburgh? I pay very little attention to cross-country results in general (as it is very difficult to make comparative analysis of times, people and places) but there was no world cross-country champs in 2016 or was there?
@ 4:07 Ethiopia: Addis Ababa. The narrator says that for the past â€œsixâ€ years Mo had spent his winters training at Altitude in Africa though at @9:07 Mo says â€œsix years plus.â€ I thought that Mo had claimed he started training in Kenya in late 2008 (admittedly this is of little importance) after his disappointing 2008 Olympic results. Of most importance whilst in Ethiopia is his training; six weeks, 20 miles per day at 10,000 ft at temperatures exceeding 30 degrees. Mo is accompanied by other British Athletes including Charlie Grice and UK official Barry Fudge. This probably explains the reason why Mo is often training away from the NOP (Galen etc.) because he has to attend officially sanctioned UK athletics training camps (and UKA will lose their funding if it is not shown to be well spent).
@ 4:47 Mo loves his coffee with plenty of sugar.
@5:37 the twisted side sit-ups Mo uses in the gym have already proved a useful addition to the standard side sit-ups I usually do.
@6.21 Usain Bolt makes an appearance, showing his confusion with distance training.
@6.48, Whilst in Ethiopia Mo and two other British runners do a session of 800s. One is timed at 2:08 with a lap jog. Mo struggles which is understandable given the altitude. @8:10 An interesting observation to note is that Mo leans slightly more forward then the other two British runners training with him. @8:21 whilst panting at the side of the track you can see the unusual bespoke sole/spike plate on Moâ€™s Nikes, the rubber/foam is sort of waffle-like but more like Swiss cheese in appearance.
@8.49 Mo and the others then make a trip to the â€œJuice shackâ€ and he orders four glasses of green slime with chocolate. Adam Clark Moâ€™s training partner elaborates on the training difficulties they experienced at such an altitude.
[email protected]:30 we see the difficulties his training stints abroad have on his family and the unreliability of internet connections from remote locations.
@11:30 Mo then travels to the Republic of Djibouti to catch up with his twin brother Hassan, who is what Mo would look like if he was unfit.
@12:50 we are shown the poverty that Moâ€™s family lived in before he immigrated to Britain.
@14:45 we learn that Moâ€™s father was working away in London, but in 1994 Mo joined his father and moved to the UK but his brother Hassan was very sick and was deemed by doctors as unable to travel. One must feel a touch of sadness for Hassan who must surely wonder about the life he missed out on.
@16:20 we then see Mo in Feltham, S.W. London, Moâ€™s neighbourhood an old stomping ground during his formative years.
@17.02 we see a pic of a young Tania Farah, she looks, not to sound racist, but noticeably darker then what we are used to seeing of her, perhaps itâ€™s the lighting. @ 18:11 Tania then says â€œis he off course or somethingâ€ it then shows a photo of Mo smoking a cigar.
@18:49 in Singapore 2005, Jacques Rogge announces that London had won the right to host the 2012 Olympics. Then @19:09 Mo goes â€œand then five years later Iâ€™m competing at the Olympicsâ€ but this would be 2010??? He competed in Beijing 2008 (three years later) then in London 2012 (seven years later).
@19:36 we are interrupted by Usain Bolt being Usain Bolt. It probably would have been better to have some of his age grade rivals talking about past races instead of trying to juice up the docoâ€™s appeal with celebrities.
@20:48 Moâ€™s wife claims to have forgotten that she was standing on the Olympic track during the London Olympics. Probably not likely, whatâ€™s more likely is Moâ€™s management team pushed Moâ€™s family man image for promotional purposes.
@21:28 Mo reveals that he likes to shave his head just before a race. A topless Mo looks a lot less ripped here then at @ 41:42 or at the Prefontaine Classic.
@22:12 Mo shows the wears of a nasty gash from where had been spiked during an indoor race in Glasgow, a race he won.
@22:41 Back in Oregon. @23:18 he is training on a treadmill in his home. Which raises an interesting question of why he trains so regularly on treadmills; is he trying to spend more time with his children, or does that help to have the pace set by a machine, or is it for privacy purposes (I imagine Mo is a celebrity in Oregon as well).
@23:35 Barry Fudge indicates that in 2009/2010 Mo made a change to training with Alberto Salazar. @24:07 we are introduced to Alberto Salazar for the first time and is heard saying to Mo â€œwowâ€¦so you averaged 4:37.5â€¦â€Mo then claims he started training with Alberto back in 2010 (he better make sure that Adidas doesnâ€™t inquire any further). He then states that Alberto was â€œthe first guy to come up with high altitude training.â€ What? I think/hope he meant altitude â€˜house.â€™
@24:42 Mo appears to be doing a V02 Max test on a lab treadmill while Alberto watches on. This is interesting because the likes of Magness have pushed the argument that the VO2 max is not that relevant to elite runners and he used to work with them. Moments later we see his altitude tent in his bed. @24:56 we are told about Caffeine as a stimulant by Barry Fudge; he justifies its use because they are up against people who have been cheating in the past??? Who?
@26:18 we learn that Mo is away from home for 6 months of the year. A quite astounding figure when you note that he has three children under the age of three.
@29:35 Moâ€™s press conference over the BBCâ€™s Panorama allegations involving Alberto and Galen. @30:04 â€œIâ€™m a clean athlete, Iâ€™m against drugs 100% and I believe that anyone that is caught with drugs should be banned for lifeâ€ Mo strangely smiles when he says that his name is â€œbeing dragged through the mud.â€ @31:22 the narrator says Mo â€œmade is blood results available to demonstrate his innocence.â€ Iâ€™m not quite sure whether this eventuated.
@32:01 we see that Mo lands clearly on his forefoot when running on a treadmill. An adaption that Salazar has applied to Moâ€™s technique.
@32:46 Salazar says â€œten twoâ€ but I canâ€™t quite gather what distance Mo was running at the Nike HQ track.
@33:39 Mo complains about a stomach pain, and Alberto says â€œyou just take some antacids when you get home.â€ Then the underwater treadmill is opened up and we see Mo jumps in instead finishing the training session. Then @34:18 when Mo gets out of the underwater treadmill he exposes briefly his massive hip-flexor muscle.
@36:25 Kamworor falls at the start in World Half-Marathon championships in Cardiff, yet gets up and wins, but the BBC fail acknowledge in any way this otherwise truly remarkable feat. Actually this is a disgraceful piece of neglect from the BBC.
@38:18 Flagstaff, AR. @39:20 Mo is squatting a relatively heavy weight for a distance runner. @39:30 Mo is giving some young British runner his wisdom whilst driving, telling him about what it takes to be Olympic champion and this young guy is probably thinking that his chances of being Olympic champion are extremely remote at best.
@ 40:03 in a rented house playing on the playstation/xbox. @ 40:25 Centro abruptly injects himself revealing perhaps the worst American in existence when he criticises Moâ€™s laziness in the kitchen. Naturally Centro had his top off. @ 40:41 we get a glimpse of Moâ€™s bed in the rented Flagstaff house and he bizarrely has a high altitude tent in his bed while living at high altitude! Perhaps the most interesting nugget in the whole documentary. The only logical explanation is that Moâ€™s hypoxic simulator is set at an even higher altitude then Flagstaff.
@ 40:51 Mo reveals that he has gone through four pairs of shoes in five weeks at Flagstaff.
@ 41:01 Track session in flagstaff, Mo initially wears arm compression socks in what looks like Nike zoom streak racing flats and talks about his VO2 max getting a boost. @ 41:42 Mo is looking a lot leaner and more muscled/ripped then earlier which goes against the grain of conventional wisdom that one gets less bulked as they peak. Mo has a change of shorts through the same track session. Then Barry Fudge pops up again holding the stop watch (Jama was busy that day, just kidding). @ 42:20 A puffing Mo breathes more from his chest then his belly which again goes against the advice that is found on most running help websites.
@ 43:35 The Prefontaine classic, moments earlier we see that Mo races a 10,000m in the original model of the Nike Victory spikes. @ 43:43 Neil Black loosens Mo up with rather odd sideways leg twists and waist stretches. @ 44:26 the commentator makes the ridiculous claim that Barry Fudge came up with the concept of â€œown the start-lineâ€ but anyone with a basic knowledge of running history know that great runners from the past Elliot, Snell, Walker, Viren, Ovett, Moreceli, and Geb all would intimidate their rivals at the start line. On the start-line a limbering-up Mo looks quite muscular in the shoulders and hamstrings for a distance runner. Mo survives a last lap scare but still wins with surge up the home straight in 26:53.
@ 46:50 there are concerns Mo is overtraining, Salazar reveals to the viewer that Mo had been running 120 miles the previous week. @ 47:34 Salazar says, â€œYouâ€™ve surprised me a million times.â€ @ 48:00 the narrator says that Mo listens to his coaching team and takes a week off from training, a big call a couple of months out from the Olympics.
@51:37 Neil Black gives Mo some more rigorous â€˜chiropracticâ€™ work just before the Birmingham Diamond league race. Mo breaks Dave Moorcroftâ€™s UK 3000m record running 7:32.62. Lord Coe congratulates Mo immediately after the race, now Mo holds every UK record from 1500m to the half marathon.
@ 53:15 Mo says that what he is trying to do has never been done before, what? Lasse Viren! As mentioned earlier @ 53:58 Mo is looking leaner and more muscled for a skinny distance runner.
@ 55:09 One can notice Lagat limbering up, he has a great range of hip motion, which no doubt has contributed to his long stellar career.
@ 56:13 Mo wins in London over 5000m in 12:59.