The sprinting legend Michael Johnson has warned Mo Farah that he risks ruining his reputation among his adoring fans by running only half the London Marathon in return for a bumper pay day.
Farah was one of the faces of last year’s London Olympics as he won a historic Olympic gold double in the 5,000m and 10,000m and he will be one of the biggest names competing in this year’s marquee race through London.
However, he has stated that he will only run the half marathon this year as his preparations for the World Championships in Moscow are taking precedence, before having a go at the whole course a year later.
The star has been the subject of criticism since then as it has been reported that he will be receiving as much as £750,000 for taking part, though Farah has defended his decision to run, stating it is an important part of his training looking towards the future.
Former 200m and 400m Olympic champion Michael Johnson commented in his column in the Times that the cash-driven decision to run the race may alienate him from his fans.
He added: “Mo is now in that position and he and his team must realise that he risks alienating his British fans if they start to hear too much about his money-making opportunities, brand-building exercises and comparisons to stars in other sports.”
The former track star talks of his own experience when he received criticism for taking part in a 150m race against 100m record holder of the time Donavan Bailey.
Despite the criticism, Farah is likely to be the star attraction of the race and so people that want to catch him in person will have to book stays in luxury hotels in London close by so they can line the streets as early as possible.