Mo Farah broke Dave Moorcroft’s 28-year-old British 5,000 metres record t in the Zurich Weltklasse meeting, achieving his long-term ambition of breaking the 13 minutes barrier in the process.
The double European champion crossed the line in 12min 57.94sec to achieve what his fellow Briton Dave Moorcroft so narrowly failed to do at the Bislett Games of Oslo in 1982, when he was timed at a tantalising then world record of 13:00.41.
Farah, who had spoken beforehand of how he wanted to achieve the target he has been so close to over the last four years, held on as a group of six threatened to break away with 2,000m remaining, and pushed on.
"To get under 13 minutes tomorrow would be really good for me," Farah said on the eve of the race.
"I’ve watched the Diamond League races on TV - and that first race in Doha was amazing, with so many under 13 minutes.
"I don’t have a clue about the pacemaking tomorrow.
"You have to be realistic, and my limit now is close to 13 minutes.
"But I have been close for four years now, so it’s something I want to do."
By the time he got the line the 27-year-old Somali –born runner, who set a personal best of 1305.66 earlier this season, was all in, staggering home out in the third lane before sinking to his knees and pressing his face to the track in prayer.
But as he stood watching the big scoreboard on the rim of the stadium, his efforts were soon confirmed as being worthwhile, and he embraced his friend Chris Solinsky of the United States, who had been narrowly run out of second place by the overall Diamond Trophy winner Imane Merga of Ethiopia, 12.56.34 to 12.56.45.
The race was won in 12.55.03 by Tariku Bekele, Kenenisa’s younger brother.
"I felt really good tonight and I'm delighted to finally run under 13 minutes and break Dave's record," said Farah.
"The race was good - I paced myself well and followed my race plan - not too fast in the first 3000 metres.
"I was able to close the gaps on the last five laps.
"I saw the clock with a lap to go and knew a good last lap could get me a fast time."
Moorcroft, the former chief executive of UK Athletics, led the praise for Farah's performance.
"I think it was amazing what he did tonight, it was a great run, and to do it after his double win in Barcelona was a great run," he said.
"To do it after the season’s major championships as we are seeing for a lot of European athletes, it is a really physically and emotionally hard time of the season to produce your best and for him to do it now is really special.
"It’s perfect timing really - it’s now out of the way and he can look forward at the start of each season at concentrating on titles now.
"I think he’s probably the most talented runner we’ve had in distance running,
"I think people really want to see him win something at world or Olympic level, and that would be some achievement as we’re in one of the toughest eras for distance running right now, but so many people are behind him and want to see him do well."
Farah's efforts clearly told on him, however, and he remained alongside the track, flat on his back, being tended to by his fellow Briton Chris Thompson, 16th in 13.28.43, who waved a towel over his face and then helped him crawl over to an advertising hoarding, where he sat staring in front of him.
Story by Mike Rowbottom in Zurich and courtesy of insidethegames.biz.