“There’s no other city like London in the whole world and I’ve had some memorable times here,” said Sir Mo. “Super Saturday, that night in the Olympic Stadium in 2012, when I won the first of my Olympic gold medals in the 10,000m, is something that I will never ever forget. Throughout the rest of my career, it was that moment and feeling I got from it which kept driving me on to try to repeat it, to continue to be successful.
“Everyone knows what this city means to me. I’ve been racing around the streets of London since I was an under-13 athlete competing in the Mini London Marathon. Since then, I’ve gone on to run the London Marathon many times, The Big Half, the Vitality London 10,000. I must have done more than 20 races on the roads of London and I will miss it.
“The Big Half on Sunday is going to be emotional and a chance for me to say goodbye to everyone in London who has supported me throughout my career because I’ve been very grateful for that support. I have won The Big Half three times and it’s a special race, not just for the elite athletes, but for the whole of the running community and that is what this city is all about.”
To mark his final race in London, Sir Mo’s wife Tania and his four children - Rhianna, Aisha, Amani and Hussein - will officially start The Big Half and he says it will be special to share the moment with his family who have been his number one cheerleaders throughout his career.
He said: “I’m looking forward to sharing this moment with my family. They have been part of my journey and without them, I don’t think any of this would have been possible. I am 100 per cent going to miss running because that’s what makes me happy but, on the other hand, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family when I retire and being involved in everything they do. Throughout my career, I have spent a lot of time away from my kids. When I was at my best, that meant six months away from my family so I am really looking forward to spending more time with them.
“My kids are definitely excited by getting to spend more time with me. Well, maybe not my son (Hussein) as he wants to see me still go out there and win races, because he understands winning now. But my girls (Aisha and Amani) do miss me a lot and they want me to be involved in the sports they do and their school. They’re looking forward to having me around more.”
Sir Mo said he is still working out his plans for life after competitive athletics but is fully focused on his final two races, The Big Half on Sunday and the Great North Run on Sunday 10 September.
“I am taking it one race at a time,” he said. “It is a bit of a weird feeling knowing it’s going to be my last race in London. I’ve never had that to think about before. There’s always been a ‘next year’ but not this time. There is a lot of stuff going through my mind [about what I do when I retire]. But the most important thing is staying healthy. I can’t see myself just being in the house and keeping still. I need to find something that I can enjoy and look forward to, be involved in sport somehow because that is all I know.”
The Big Half will be live on BBC Online and iPlayer from 08:10 to 10:30 as well as The Big Half website thebighalf.co.uk
The Big Half and New Balance Big Relay start at 08:30 with the wheelchair races starting five minutes earlier at 08:25. The first wheelchair finishers are expected to arrive at the Cutty Sark at about 09:10 with Sir Mo and the elite men expected to finish at about 09:30, followed by the elite women and masses.