For years it had been widely accepted in Great Britain that their male athletes did not win medals over long distances.
So, when Mo Farah competed over 5,000m at the 2007 World Championships and finished sixth, then backed that up by not qualifying for the final of the Olympic Games in Beijing a year later, it appeared that he would be added to a list of talented, but ultimately unsuccessful UK runners.
However, those that weren't in the know by the time 2011 had come round would have missed the fact that Farah, determined to improve, had moved himself and his family to Oregon at the start of the year to be coached by Alberto Salazar.
Farah viewed the former American marathon runner as his final chance to be hoisted among the world's elite distance runners.
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His influence worked almost immediately, with Farah, who had won at the European Championships 12 months earlier, taking the silver medal behind Ibrahim Jeilan in the 10,000m at the Worlds in Daegu.
Then, two years ago today, Farah was presented with another chance to claim the top prize in the 5,000m at the same competition. Standing in his way was the great Bernard Lagat, but on this occasion the Kenyan-American had to settle for second spot behind Farah, who completed the last 400m in just 52.87 seconds.
"I can't quite believe it. I pictured the 10k on the last lap thinking, I came so close then I'm not going to let anyone pass me. It's been hard work and a lot of sacrifices and I have to thank so many people who've been behind me," Britain's first world distance running champion told BBC Sport shortly after crossing the finish line.
Fast forward a year and Farah would be celebrating again, this time in front of a home crowd at the Olympics.