- Sir Mo to sign-off his London career at the capital’s community half marathon
- Wife Tania and four children will be official starters of The Big Half
- More than 15,000 people expected to take part on Sunday 3 September
- New initiatives this year to make the event even more community-focused
Sir Mo Farah will race for the last time ever in his hometown of London on Sunday (3 September) when he takes part in The Big Half – the capital’s community running festival.
More than 15,000 people will join Sir Mo in his historic final race in London, including about 4,000 from community groups across the city, on a route that starts near Tower Bridge and finishes at the historic Cutty Sark in Greenwich.
Sir Mo’s final competitive farewell in London brings to an end a stunning career in the city where he won two gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games and a gold medal at the 2017 World Championships. He has also been Britain’s leading contender at the London Marathon over the past decade and his three wins at The Big Half are a record for the event.
To mark the occasion, Sir Mo and thousands of other participants will be set on their way by his wife Lady Tania Farah and his children - Rhianna, Aisha, Amani and Hussein – who will be the official starters of the race.
Sir Mo will be looking to sign off in style with a victory on Sunday 3 September when he will be up against a strong domestic field who are bidding to win places in the Great Britain team for the World Athletics Road Running Half Marathon Championships in Riga, Estonia, on October 1.
The first three finishers in the men’s and women’s races will be eligible for selection for the World Championships, providing they have achieved the qualifying times (62:30 for men and 71:30 for women). Jonny Mellor and Andy Butchart lead the entrants alongside Sir Mo in the men’s race while Samantha Harrison and Calli Thackery are the two fastest in the women’s field.
David Weir heads the men’s wheelchair field while there is an intriguing match-up in the women’s wheelchair race where defending champion Eden Rainbow-Cooper faces former world 100m champion Samantha Kinghorn.
The Big Half will be live on BBC Online and iPlayer from 08:10 to 10:30 as well as The Big Half Facebook page.
Now in its sixth year, The Big Half is London’s community half marathon with a focus on the four boroughs the route passes through: Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich. The event’s campaign is We Run As One, promoting running for all.
To encourage local running crews and community groups to take part, there are ring-fenced entries costing £10 while there is also a discount for residents living in the host boroughs.
Among the running crews either taking part or acting as cheer squads this year are Uffo, a group that provides activity for London’s Somalian and East African diaspora, Black Girls Do Run and ASRA, a community and run club for Muslim women.
Members of ASRA have also helped design the T-shirt and medals for this year’s event, with their main design theme being the concept of blossoming, which is a metaphor for the journey a runner goes through, from the moment they sign up to that wonderful feeling of crossing the Finish Line. For the first time ever, the finisher T-shirts will be long-sleeved this year so members of ASRA and others in the Muslim community feel comfortable wearing them.
New community-focused initiatives this year also include:
- A new DJ at the Finish Line: 21-year-old DJ Kizzi, a young BBC Asian Network DJ from London, will be aiming to make everyone feel like a winner when they cross the line
- Pacers taking the music from start to finish: The team of pacers, running to help participants hit specific times, will be keeping everyone entertained with travelling speakers playing playlists from DJ Kizzi and the Wrights Academy, a music and sport-based initiative for young people
- Prayer tent: A prayer tent and reflection space will be created in Greenwich Park, the finish area for The Big Half
Incorporated in The Big Half is the New Balance Big Relay which enables a team of four to split the 13.1-mile half marathon distance into quarters with each person running about 5K. There is also The Big Mile for children and young people which starts in Greenwich Town Centre and finishes at the Cutty Sark.
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.