30 Jul 2013

Usain Bolt vs Mo Farah: the greatest race ever?

It’s a potential treat for people missing the Olympic thrill. Two of the world’s top runners, sprinter Usain Bolt and long-distance champion Mo Farah, hint they would be up for a race over 600 metres.

Bolt and Farah swap poses (Getty)

The race has become more likely after 100m champion and the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, accepted the challenge from British Olympic hero Mo Farah,30.

While it might seem like an unlikely pairing, the two men have the same agent and are good friends.

Bolt, 26, even paid tribute to Farah by performing the “Mobot” as he crossed the finish line when the Jamaican team won the men’s 4x100m relay last year.

Are you up for that? Come on, you’ve got to do it. Mo Farah to Usain Bolt

Farah’s challenge follows the London Anniversary Games at the weekend, a year on from the two men’s electric performances at the London Olympic Games.

The race is likely to take place over 600m and speculations are already taking place over who will be the winner.

The bets are on

Bookmaker Coral are offering odds over 600m and 800m, making the British distance hero the 2-7 favourite over 600m, and 1-9 over 800m. Punters who prefer the Jamaican sprint legend Bolt, can get 5-2 that he beats Farah over 600m and 5-1 over 800m

In proposing the challenge Farah said: “It would be great to do a distance where people vote in – proper athletics fans – on what distance they think is most suitable.”

He then told Bolt: “Are you up for that? Come on, you’ve got to do it.”

Bolt replied: “That sounds fun. It’s going to be hard but it’s charity so it’s all about fun and enjoyment. I’m up for anything, for anything’s possible.”

Channel 4 News spoke to one expert to see who he thought would triumph in the race.

Dr Jonathan Folland, a senior lecturer a Loughborough University and specialist in neuromuscular function and physiology said: “It’s tricky and really anyone’s guess. If it was 800m I’d say definitely Mo Farah, but I know Usain Bolt has competed at the beginning of his career in some 200m and 400m events.

“The issue is that sprinters use anaerobic rather than aerobic energy, but that produces byproducts including lactic acid which can slow athletes down at longer distances. So we’ll have to wait and see.”

Other unusual pairings

The hare and the tortoise - the original and best-known race, a favourite of children and overused by parents as an adage...
The sprinter and the cheetahSprinter Lawrence Wooldridge gave it a good go, but the big cat outran him – maybe Bolt would stand a better chance.
Oscar Pistorius and the Arabian horse - yes, really. And he won. He's not even the first - Jesse Owens did it many years before.
Serena Williams and Andy Murray - it began as Twitter joke but now looks to be going ahead. Will Serena be able to match up to Jon Snow though?
And one to look forward to: Boris Johnson has accepted an offer of a table tennis match from Pippa Middleton - watch this space.