Mo Farah can succeed in the marathon - Paula Radcliffe

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter in Birmingham
Farah eases to indoor 3,000m victory

Three-time London marathon winner Paula Radcliffe has backed double Olympic champion Mo Farah to repeat his middle-distance success over 26.2 miles.

Farah, who won 5,000m and 10,000m gold medals last summer, plans to run half of this year's London Marathon before running the full distance in 2014.

"Mo's done it all on the track now and it's time to move on," said Radcliffe.

"I've seen him attack the long runs out [training] in Kenya and he has all of the ingredients [for success]."

Radcliffe, who herself claimed 5,000 Commonwealth and 10,000m World Championship medals before stepping up to the marathon, admits she was "a little bit shocked" to hear Farah would only run half of the London course in April.

However, the five-time Olympian feels he will benefit from the experience.

"I'd rather race a half marathon or commit to do the full distance when you're ready, but in a way it does make sense [what Farah is choosing to do] because the marathon is very different to competing at a major [track] championships," said Radcliffe.

"Your press conferences start a week out, you have different routines - on race day, what do you eat because it's so early?

"You need to work out how best to sleep the night before, when do the buses leave for the start line and all of that, but he will get the chance to run through that and it will help him for 2014."

Farah and his 'Mobot' celebration have attained public adulation since the Somalia-born runner won double gold last summer.

While he has revelled in the spotlight, Radcliffe believes the move to the marathon could help alleviate some of the hype and pressure success has brought.

"It's not so much that he needs the new challenge but maybe a new event to go at," stated Radcliffe.

"There's stress and expectation on him every time he races over 5k, 10k and to some extent even the half-marathon, but that won't be there in the marathon so it's a bit of fun and will put that enjoyment back into it.

Radcliffe was 28 when she made the switch, a year younger than Farah is now, and she feels the timing is right for him.

"You have to do it when the passion is highest in your heart," she added.

"You can try other events because people say you might have the talent, but you can't be pushed into the marathon. You have to be ready in your own mind to want to do it."

Farah's major target for 2013 is to repeat his Olympic double-distance success at the World Championships in Moscow.

His preparations for that task include running the New Orleans half-marathon at the end of February and half of the London Marathon in April, so Farah will only step up to full distance training after the Worlds in August.