We take a look back on a challenging year which, despite major disruption, still witnessed some standout performances
This year has been a difficult one in so many ways but despite the disruption athletics was still able to feature, albeit not always in the most traditional of forms.
As 2020 comes to a close and we get ready for a belated Olympic and Paralympic year, which athletics moments do you remember the most?
Here we highlight links to AW coverage from the past 12 months as a reminder of some of the biggest news in the world of the sport.
» Rhonex Kipruto broke the world 10km record in Valencia, clocking 26:24, while fellow Kenyan Sheila Chepkirui threatened the women’s record with 29:46. Julien Wanders improved the European record and Callum Hawkins ran a Scottish best.
» Britain’s 2011 world 1500m silver medallist Hannah England announced her retirement from competitive athletics.
» A Kenenisa Bekele vs Eliud Kipchoge head-to-head was announced for the London Marathon.
» Tributes were paid to Maurie Plant following news that the former agent, team manager and BBC broadcaster had died aged 66.
» Olika Adugna won an historic men’s marathon in Dubai, as an unprecedented 11 runners went sub-2:07, while Worknesh Degefa regained the women’s title.
» Jake Wightman was among the record-breakers as the World Athletics Indoor Tour began in Boston, with the European and Commonwealth medallist clocking 2:17.51 to improve the British indoor 1000m best.
» The World Indoor Championships, scheduled for March 13-15 in Nanjing, China, was the first major event to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
» Jemma Reekie broke the British indoor 800m record in Glasgow, clocking 1:57.91 to finish ahead of training partner Laura Muir.
» Mondo Duplantis broke the world pole vault record in Toruń, clearing 6.17m to add one centimetre to the mark set by Renaud Lavillenie in Donetsk in 2014.
» Jemma Reekie smashed two more British records in New York, improving Laura Muir’s UK indoor 1500m and mile marks at the Millrose Games.
» Perri Shakes-Drayton, the second-fastest Briton of all-time in the women’s 400m hurdles, announced her retirement.
» Joanna Adams (Coates) joined UK Athletics as CEO.
» Mondo Duplantis improved his own world pole vault record to 6.18m in Glasgow.
» Joshua Cheptegei smashed the first of his 2020 world records, running 12:51 for 5km in Monaco.
» Ababel Yeshaneh broke the world half-marathon record with 64:31 in Ras Al Khaimah.
» Yulimar Rojas leapt 15.43m to improve Tatyana Lebedeva’s 16-year-old world indoor triple jump record by 7cm in Madrid.
» Marc Scott broke Mo Farah’s European indoor 5000m record with 13:08.87 in Boston.
» Galen Rupp and Aliphine Tuliamuk claimed victory at the US Olympic marathon trials.
» Birhanu Legese and Lonah Chemtai Salpeter won the elite-only Tokyo Marathon.
» Kenenisa Bekele and Lily Partridge claimed Big Half titles in London.
» Bahrain’s Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Ruth Jebet was handed a four-year ban.
» The New Balance English Schools Cross Country Championships went ahead in Liverpool despite the growing pandemic.
» The World Half Marathon Championships were postponed due to coronavirus.
» Tributes were paid to coach Lindsay Dunn following his death aged 77.
» The Tokyo 2020 Games were postponed to 2021.
» Javelin thrower James Campbell’s #6MetreGardenMarathon challenge was among the many innovative events to take place to raise money for charity.
» The 2021 World Athletics Championships in Oregon was rescheduled for July 15-24, 2022, following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
» Event organisers launched The 2.6 Challenge for UK charities.
» Tributes were paid to former UK Athletics performance director Neil Black after his death aged 60.
» The Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships, which had been scheduled to take place at the Charlety Stadium in August, were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
» The Kobe World Para Athletics Championships were postponed to 2022.
» Mondo Duplantis and Renaud Lavillenie tied in a unique remote garden pole vault clash.
» UK Sport published a summary of findings from its independent review into UK Athletics.
» Garden athletics made a comeback with Katerina Stefanidi winning a women’s remote pole vault clash.
» Jakob Ingebrigtsen set a Norwegian 5km record in Stavanger, clocking 13:28 as road race action returned to the streets of Norway and the screens of athletics fans across the world.
» Athletics showed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
» World Athletics released an updated Olympic qualifying process.
» World Athletics unveiled a new strategic plan for the sport.
» Karsten Warholm stormed to the quickest outdoor 300m hurdles time in history, clocking 33.78 as the Diamond League returned in an exhibition event format in Oslo.
» Many messages and memories were shared following news of European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen’s death aged 74.
» The New York City Marathon was cancelled for 2020.
» World Athletics froze the Russia reinstatement processes.
» Kenya’s former marathon world record-holder Wilson Kipsang was banned for four years.
» Diamond League exhibition action resumed at the Weltklasse Zürich meeting, where Noah Lyles’ 200m ‘world record’ came up short.
» Shelby Houlihan and Moh Ahmed smashed the North American 5000m records in Portland.
» Sabrina Verjee and Kim Collison were among the athletes to make ultra running history during a summer of ‘FKTs’.
» The Chicago Marathon announced its 2020 race cancellation.
» World Athletics announced changes to its shoe rules.
» Jake Wightman stormed to second on the UK all-time list with 3:29.47 for 1500m in Monaco.
» Joshua Cheptegei was back in world record-breaking action in Monaco as he improved the 5000m mark to 12:35.36.
» Laura Muir broke the British 1000m best on her Diamond League return in Monaco.
» Sara Symington was appointed as UKA performance director.
» Christian Malcolm was confirmed as the new Olympic head coach of UK Athletics.
» Harry Coppell was among the winners at the British Championships in Manchester, where he broke the UK pole vault record.
» Mo Farah improved Haile Gebrselassie’s world record for the one-hour run at the Van Damme Memorial in Brussels, while Sifan Hassan smashed Dire Tune’s women’s mark.
» In a great year for British middle-distance running, Daniel Rowden led a British one-two-three in the 800m in Zagreb.
» Peres Jepchirchir smashed the world half-marathon record in Prague.
» Lamine Diack was judged guilty of corruption.
» Mondo Duplantis broke Sergey Bubka’s world outdoor pole vault best with 6.15m in Rome (lead photo).
» Brigid Kosgei claimed a runaway win at the elite-only London Marathon.
» Shura Kitata sprang a marathon shock as Eliud Kipchoge suffered a rare defeat in London.
» Brent Lakatos and Nikita Den Boer battled to wheelchair wins in London.
» Joshua Cheptegei and Letesenbet Gidey both ensured that the one-off NN Valencia World Record Day event lived up to its name by smashing the global 10,000m and 5000m marks respectively.
» George Gandy, the prolific British endurance running coach best known for his work with athletes at Loughborough University, died following a heart attack aged 80.
» Brendan Foster was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
» Sifan Hassan smashed the European 10,000m record with 29:36.67 in the rain in Hengelo.
» The 2017 London Marathon winner Daniel Wanjiru was handed a four-year ban.
» Peres Jepchirchir broke the women-only world record in an historic edition of the World Half Marathon Championships.
» Jacob Kiplimo was crowned men’s world half-marathon champion.
» It was announced that Christian Coleman, the world 100m champion, would miss the Tokyo Olympics after being given a two-year ban after missing three drugs tests.
» Tributes poured in for Chris Smith after the mountain running international was found dead in the Scottish hills.
» A 12-year plan for athletics in Britain was launched.
» It was announced that the 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships have been awarded to Istanbul, Turkey.
» It was confirmed that the next edition of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships is still set for Dublin, despite the 2020 event having been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
» The 2017 world 1500m champion Elijah Manangoi was handed a two-year ban for “whereabouts failures”.
» It was announced that Kew Gardens in London will host the British Olympic marathon trials next March.
» Mondo Duplantis and Jemma Reekie were voted among the winners in the AW Awards.
» Usain Bolt and Tirunesh Dibaba were voted ‘The Greatest’ by AW readers.
» Bolt was among the big-name athletes to congratulate AW on reaching its 75th diamond anniversary.
» A number of big changes were announced for the 2021 Wanda Diamond League series, including the reintroduction of 200m, 5000m, steeplechase, triple jump and discus events.
» Yulimar Rojas and Mondo Duplantis were named World Athletics’ athletes of 2020.
» Kibiwott Kandie shattered the world half-marathon record with 57:32 in Valencia.
» The World Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, scheduled for March 19-21, was postponed to March 2023.
» Jack Miller, a stalwart of the British Athletics Supporters’ Club and former chair of the organisation, died aged 74 after contracting coronavirus.
» Stephen Maguire stepped down as Scottish Athletics director of performance and coaching.
» Sara Hall and Martin Hehir claimed wins at the specially-organised Marathon Project in Arizona.
» Marathon legend Ron Hill received the Vikki Orvice Inspiration Award from the British Athletics Writers’ Association while Jemma Reekie and Jake Wightman were named athletes of the year
» For further reflection on 2020, check out the December edition of AW magazine which includes an 80-page end-of-year rankings supplement and is available to order online in print here and read digitally here