- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

LONDON (AP) - Mo Farah had just been draped in a Union Jack on the New York half-marathon finish line when he lost consciousness and collapsed on the chilly road.

A month after being taken away in a wheelchair, Farah is preparing to race again in London on Sunday. He’s shrugged off the health scare that appeared to jeopardize his much-anticipated full marathon debut.

“My coach, Alberto Salazar, who has been there and done that, was just telling me, ‘Get up Mo, stop faking it,’” Farah recalled Tuesday. “I’m fine, but I’m glad something happened in New York rather than here … it was just a lack of energy really.”

The British public knows Farah the champion, one of the world’s track and field greats who won the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the 2012 London Olympics. Now the 31-year-old Farah is facing the biggest test of his career, fresh from a high-altitude training camp in Kenya.

“It’s gone reasonably well. It doesn’t always go smooth,” Farah said. “There have been a few hiccups.”

But nothing major, he said reassuringly for the thousands preparing to line the 26.2-mile route in the English capital on Sunday. Last year they only got to see Farah running the first half of the marathon as he acquainted himself with the course.

Although Farah finished second in freezing New York last month behind Geoffrey Mutai, the grueling experience served as a reminder how challenging going the full distance will be - especially with such a strong field awaiting in London.

It will be no serene introduction to the marathon, with Farah lining up alongside world record holder Wilson Kipsang, reigning London champion Tsegaye Kebede, course record holder Emmanuel Mutai, and Olympic and world champion Stephen Kiprotich.

“It would be nice to just go out there and not think about anything apart from time,” Farah said. “But I’m going in straight at the deep end. That’s what champions do. You don’t get the easy way.”

Win, though, on Sunday, and Farah could be able to name his price for future appearances in the London race. There is no deal in place for beyond 2014.

“I’ve achieved a lot on the track, but I want to test myself and it will be a big test on Sunday,” Farah said. “Every race you go through is a risk. You achieve a lot and you want to win, but you aren’t going to be guaranteed to win. … It makes me more of a champion for going out there and going straight in.”

Kenenisa Bekele, who preceded Farah as Olympic champion over 5,000 and 10,000 meters, won his marathon debut in Paris last Sunday.

“It gives me gives confidence if Bekele can do it, then why can I not do it?” Farah asked.

___

Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris