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Farah takes victory in Dunkirk

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Mo Farah at last year's European Cross Country

European 5000m silver medallist Mo Farah scored a surprise win at a high quality international cross country meeting in Dunkirk, France, on Sunday 26 November in his last race before the European Cross Country Championships in Italy on 10 December.

 

He is the first European winner of the event since 1994, when Paulo Guerra (Portugal) triumphed just before he travelled to Alnwick in Northumberland and won the first of his four European cross country titles. Since then, Africa has dominated with winners including the legendary Haile Gebrselassie.

 

And it looked like the same old story as the 9km race entered the fourth and final lap with Farah chasing Micah Kogo (Kenya), the fastest man in the world over 10,000m this summer.

 

Farah, who returned last Monday from a month’s altitude training in South Africa, takes up the story: “Micah pushed on the last lap but couldn’t get rid of me. Then when I saw the finish, I kicked.”

 

Farah took the verdict clearly, crossing the line in 19 minutes 51 seconds, 2 seconds ahead of the race favourite. They were 14 seconds clear of the rest of the field.

 

Farah added: “I trained hard in South Africa. This race was to see where I am with my fitness. I was up there all the way through. I knew it would be hard, but I believed in myself.”

 

The belief came from his super sprint to take second place in the European 5000m in Gothenburg this summer. But he will head for the European Cross Country Championships knowing he faces another tough task: he finished 21st, 48 seconds behind the six-time winner, Sergiy Lebid (Ukraine).