Mohammed “Mo” Farah is a truly global athlete. Born in Somalia, raised in the United Kingdom and currently training in Portland, Oregon, this track star is a gold-medal favorite in the 5000 and 1000 meter run in this summer’s 2012 Olympics in London.
Mo may be famous for his training regimen and dedication to the sport, but there are many other important aspects to his life: Mo is married, has a daughter (with twins on the way) and – along with his wife, Tania – founded the Mo Farah Foundation, providing life-saving aid to East Africa.
We caught up with this European and World champion via Skype to hear how he keeps up with it all.
Mo, you’re running for the UK, training in the US and heading up a foundation in East Africa. How do you maintain relationships with friends, family, colleagues and trainers around the globe?
I use Skype on a daily basis. Mostly I’ll use it to call my wife and daughter because of the amount of travelling I do these days. I also regularly use Skype to call my coach, physio and team doctors wherever they are in the world. It is essential that we stay connected most of the year round.
Does technology help you to train in ways you wouldn’t have been able to do in the past?
I am able to keep in touch with training partners from various countries that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to stay in touch with if it wasn’t for Skype.
For example, there are guys who I’ve known from the circuit for many years although we only really see each other at major championships now and then. Whilst in Kenya at the beginning of the year, me and lots of guys from different countries were all training together and we all get on really well although it’s rare for all of us to be in the same place at the same time. Having Skype to stay connected is nice and helps us to continue to share experiences and learn from each other.
Please tell us about the Mo Farah Foundation and how you manage projects in East Africa while training in Oregon?
My wife and I set up the Foundation at the end of last year following our trip to Somalia where we saw how bad the situation is out there. The people there are really struggling and we felt that we had to do something about it.
Since we set up the Foundation, we’ve been distributing food and building water wells and have now commissioned more projects to start very soon which include providing medical care to thousands of people as well as providing tools and seeds to many farmers. We use Skype to communicate with the project coordinator on the ground in Somalia which is really helpful as it keeps us regularly up-to-date with the progress of our work.
Keep an eye out for Mo in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. To find out how you can support the Mo Farah Foundation’s important work in East Africa visit http://www.mofarahfoundation.org.uk/get-involved/. On September 1st, Mo will host the first Annual Fundraising Ball in London. Various VIP’s of of sport will join Mo at a “Night of Champions”to raise money to combat the famine crisis ravaging the Horn of Africa.