From Somalia to Olympic champion via Finner

On Saturday 18th March 1999 the International Schools cross-country was hosted in Finner camp by the local Tir Chonaill Athletics club - led by Pat Mc Manus, clerk of the course; Paddy Donoghue, hospitality ref International teams and meet Director Eamon Harvey.

On Saturday 18th March 1999 the International Schools cross-country was hosted in Finner camp by the local Tir Chonaill Athletics club - led by Pat Mc Manus, clerk of the course; Paddy Donoghue, hospitality ref International teams and meet Director Eamon Harvey.

This prestigious event received massive assistance, support and help from Lt Col Declan O’Carroll, O/C 28th Bn.; Philip McGlynn Great Northern Hotel; Ballyshannon Town Council, Bundoran Urban Council, Donegal Co Council and Donegal VEC and numerous members of Tir Chonaill AC

Mo Farah was the star performer of the four race meeting (Under 15 and 17 Girls and Boys from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) when he demolished a class field in the Under 17 Boys 5k race ran in perfect conditions on one of the fastest cross-country surfaces ever experienced.

Fast forward to last Saturday evening and the same Mo Farah in the Olympic 10k final carrried the hopes of of a packed partisan stadium in London and a record viewing audience - only surpassed by the 100m Bolt final the following evening.

In one of the greatest distance races of all time Farah remained calm and controlled as numerous efforts/spurts were injected before taking control with 500m to go and running a final 400m lap of sub 52 seconds to record a most popular victory.

The Donegal connection

Mo, in addition to an early athletics exprience at Finner Camp, can also claim more Donegal roots. Throughout his professional athletics career he has been expertly supported and managed by Pace Management Director Richard (Ricky) Simms, who hails from Milford and has visited the county with Richard and ran in the Finn Valley Boxing Day road race a few years ago - could there be a possible return in December 2012?

Mo Farah was born in Somalia and moved to England when he was eight. His main passion was football, but his PE teacher saw that he was a fast runner and encouraged him to join the school running club. He performed consistently well in English Schools Championships and he has grown into one of England’s strongest and most consistent long distance runners.

In 2011 he continued his improvements as he broke the European and British records for both 10,000m and 5,000m beating world class opposition on each occasion. Then at the World Championships in Deagu last year, after narrowly missing out on Gold in an epic 10,000m, Mo returned to take the 5,000m title in a ferocious last lap.

His P.Bs 1,500m: 3mins 33.08secs; 5,000m:12mins 53.11; 10,000k: 26mins. 46 secs; Half Marathon: 60mins 23secs.