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.

Take a look through the links below and then tell us which stories really stood out for you – send a tweet @AthleticsWeekly, tag us on Instagram or pop a comment on Facebook.


» 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.

Rhonex Kipruto. Photo by 10K Valencia Ibercaja

» 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.

Jemma Reekie. Photo by Bobby Gavin

» 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.

» Amy Hunt and Guy Learmonth were among the winners at the British Indoor Championships.

Amy Hunt. Photo by Mark Shearman

» 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.

» The Boston and London marathons announced their postponement.

» 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.

James Campbell. Photo via Vinco Sport

» 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.

Karsten Warholm. Photo by Eirik Førde/Bislett Alliance

» 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.

Joshua Cheptegei. Photo by Etienne Fiacre for Herculis EBS Meeting

» 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.

Shura Kitata. Photo by Virgin Money London Marathon

» 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.

Photos by Mark Shearman

» 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

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