Standing on the start line at the 2017 Drake Relays, it felt like any other race for Kirani James.
African triple jump champion and continental record holder Hugues Fabrice Zango put Burkina Faso on the global athletics map this year when he became the first athlete from the West African nation win a medal at the World Athletics Championships.
World Male Athlete of the Year Eliud Kipchoge’s achievement in 2019 included the far-from-inconsiderable feat of winning a second successive London Marathon title – and a record fourth in all – something he did in 2:02:37, the second fastest performance ever at that time behind his official world record of 2:01:39.
Dalilah Muhammad admits that ending 2019 as the World Athlete of the Year wasn’t something she expected at its outset. Certainly not in mid-July, when a freak accident during a routine training session nearly ended her season just as it was getting underway.
Rising Colombian star Anthony Zambrano produced a major surprise at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 last month when he raced to 400m silver. The 21-year-old clocked a notable 44.15 to clip a hefty 0.14 from the South American record set by Brazil’s Sanderlei Claro Parrela at the 1999 World Championships in Seville when Zambrano was barely a year old.
Described as one of the greatest comebacks in athletics history, Kenenisa Bekele’s astonishing victory in September’s Berlin Marathon in 2:01:42 – within two seconds of the world record - sent shockwaves through the athletics world.
Two years ago, behind the decathlon medal-winning trio of Kevin Mayer, Rico Freimuth and Kai Kazmirek at the World Championships in London, a breakthrough was happening. 23-year old Estonian Janek Õiglane was having the performance of his career, finishing fourth with a lifetime best of 8371.
For most of the elite field competing at this weekend’s New York City Marathon, running has been a lifelong pursuit; years of extreme tunnel vision from an early age in search of physical excellence. Australia’s Sinead Diver, however, has taken a very different and much more unconventional route to the start line at Staten Island.
From the moment Tajay Gayle took off to when his feet kissed the sandpit, everyone who witnessed the jump knew, once the white flag came up signifying a legal effort, that something amazing had occurred. The scoreboard matched expectations, as the mark of 8.69m appeared to set tongues wagging inside the Khalifa International Stadium and around the world.
“You can do this. You know this. You got this.” When the fatigue was reaching a crescendo, when Evan Dunfee’s legs and arms and lungs and heart were held ransom by the slow, torturous pain of the 50km race walk, this was his negotiation strategy. This was his way out.