Then came surge after counter surge, Farah riding on the back of each one. Although Australian Patrick Tiernan hit the front on the 3,000m mark and tried to stretch the field, ...
In a unusual way, however, this defeat might well offer some brief respite from the shadow of doping and some of the hard questions that have come with his previously unbreakable displays of championship distance running.
But after the race, almost all of the attention went to Farah.
Only tonight he did lose, something about the way he fell to the track afterwards making him look quite human after all.
He won the 5,000m a week later and since then has done the double at the worlds in Moscow, Beijing as well as the Olympics in 2012 and Rio a year ago bit not London. A victory for Sally Pearson would find Australia a place in the medal tally.
And in each of the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and the 2013 and 2015 World Championships, that has meant doubling up over the two longest track championship distances.
Pearson delivered the flawless championship performance too, her 12.59 seconds run from the front and enough to hold off the American Dawn Harper Nelson, with Germany's Pamela Dutkiewicz beating world record holder Kendra Harrison for the bronze.
Farah will run in Birmingham next Sunday before ending his track career in Zurich. That he finishes with silver on the track clearly wasn't the farewell he had planned.
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