Javelin thrower Tori Peeters of New Zealand training on her boyfriend's farm (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News

The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus


Here we continue to share stories and updates about how the athletics world is adjusting to and coping with the spread of Covid-19.

If you're an athlete, race organiser or manager with a story to tell, please get in touch so we can share your story, too.

Previous updates:

20-22 March | 23-25 March | 26-28 March | 29-31 March | 1-3 April | 4-8 April | 9-12 April | 13-17 April | 18-22 April | 23-28 April | 29 April - 3 May | 4-8 May | 9-13 May | 14-19 May | 20-24 May | 25-31 May | 1-7 June| 8-14 June | 15-21 June

Updates by Jon Mulkeen and Bob Ramsak



Tuesday 30 June

 

Strategy For Growth

21:30 - 30 June
Earlier today, World Athletics published its four-year strategic plan: Strategy For Growth.

Strategy For Growth

Designed to harness the power and accessibility of athletics to drive growth in the sport and create a healthier and fitter world, the plan plots out the direction athletics will take over the next four years and the short-term challenges and opportunities the sport has as the world begins to emerge from lockdown.

Read more about it here.

Note: this is the final update on our 'new normal' reporting page. The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, but World Athletics will continue to provide news and updates from across the sport through its 'area in focus' series and our 'weekend reads' highlights, which will return later this week.

 

Kolak and Ingebrigtsen brothers highlight Boysen Memorial day two

21:20 - 30 June
The second day of action at the Boysen Memorial in Oslo was highlighted by Sara Kolak's promising 2020 debut and a pair of 800m PBs from Jakob and Filip Ingebrigtsen.

Kolak, the Olympic javelin champion, opened with 60.87m and then improved to 62.42m in the second round. That remained her best mark of the night, but the Croatian followed it with 60.67m in round four.

Jakob got the better of older brother Filip Ingebrigtsen in the 800m. In a close finish, they were rewarded with respective PBs of 1:46.44 and 1:46.74.

Full results can be found here.

 

RunCzech cancels 2020 races in Prague

12:15 - 30 June
RunCzech, organisers of several leading road races in the Czech Republic, have announced that their races that had been set to take place in Prague this year will not go ahead. They are, however, hopeful of hosting some of their other smaller road races in other Czech cities.

Their statement read:

"After carefully scrutinising all possible scenarios and consulting with competent institutions, we have to announce that these conditions force us to cancel Prague races in 2020: the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, the Volkswagen Prague Marathon and the Birell Prague Grand Prix.

"The decision taken is extremely difficult for us. But we take comfort knowing that Czech government officials had the foresight and the wisdom to take action designed to keep us safe. We take comfort knowing that our health care professionals were tireless and brilliant in helping to treat the virus. We take comfort knowing that when it hurts this bad we must be doing something good. And we take comfort knowing that we will run again.

"The Mattoni Half Marathons in Karlovy Vary, Ceske Budejovice, Olomouc, Usti nad Labem, as well as the Mattoni Liberec Nature Run are all still on. If the situation allows, their size should make it possible for us to host them within mandated crowd-size limits. And we want so badly to see everyone there. To know that the sport is still alive. To see the joy."

 



Monday 29 June

 

Kamworor: 'I'm doing well' and 'I feel a bright future ahead'

15:20 - 29 June
Those were some happy words to hear from Geoffrey Kamworor just a few days after we learned that the world half marathon record holder was hit by a motorcycle during a training run last Thursday morning. May the speedy recovery continue.

 

Early warning: Oslo's Boysen Memorial live stream info

13:15 - 29 June
The two-day Boysen Memorial gets underway this afternoon at Oslo's Bislett Stadium and will be streamed live on the host clubIK Tjalve's Facebook page.

Today's programme includes the men's 5000m where Henrik Ingebrigtsen and Sondre Nordstad Moen will go head-to-head. Nine heats are expected. The women's 5000m is also scheduled for today.

Some of the expected highlights on day two include the men's 800 where Jakob and Filip Ingebrigtsen are expected to butt heads and the women's javelin throw which features reigning Olympic champion Sara Kolak's 2020 debut. Kolak, who trains in Norway with Andreas Thorkildsen, will take on three-time Norwegian champion Sigrid Borge. That day's action kicks of at 3pm local.

Tomorrow's programme includes:
Women: 100m, 200m, 800m, 400m hurdles, javelin, high jump and long jump.
Men: 100m, 200m, 800m, shot put, discus, hammer, javelin and long jump.

 



Sunday 28 June

 

Competition scheduling update from USATF

21:45 - 28 June
USA Track and Field this week provided an update on their scheduling plans for the rest of 2020.

The federation is still hopeful of hosting a US Championships later this year - "either the week ending Sunday 13 September or the week ending Sunday 20 September" according to their update - but it is of course conditional on many factors.

It stresses:
"With the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, these contingency plans will likely be altered. Even when the milestone date is reached and if the event is officially confirmed, a later decision to cancel the meet due to the Covid-19 situation is entirely possible."

 

Ehammer leaps 8.15m, world leads for Korte and Meijer

15:35 - 28 June
It has been a relatively busy weekend of athletics action in Switzerland, Finland and Sweden.

Some of the highlights include:

- an 8.15m long jump by 20-year-old Swiss decathlete Simon Ehammer
- a world-leading 12.81 in the 100m hurdles from Finland's Annimari Korte
- a world-leading 4.72m vault from Sweden's Michaela Meijer

All this and more in our weekend round-up

 



Saturday 27 June

 

Jepkosgei happy to wait for second bite at Big Apple

23:15 - 27 June
Joyciline Jepkosgei’s victory in New York City last year on what was her marathon debut was one of the most sensational performances on the roads last year.

The former world half marathon record-holder won in 2:22:38, just seven seconds shy of the course record set 16 years prior, beating a strong field in the process.

Ordinarily, she’d have hoped to defend her title later this year, but earlier this week it was announced that the 2020 New York City Marathon was cancelled. Jepkosgei knows there’ll be another chance to return to the Big Apple.

Joyciline Jepkosgei

“I was hoping to defend my title and attempt to do better this year,” the 26-year-old Jepkosgei told Standard Sports. “There will always be another chance to come. This is a pandemic that has affected all sports activities across the world and we have to accept and hope things will get better.

“I had New York City marathon in mind but I had first tuned myself for London before Covid-19 hit sports competitions,” added Jepkosgei, who has since resumed to her military job. “I am still training although I have scaled things down. As an athlete, I have to remain physically fit.”

More

 

Glimmers of hope for Asia’s leading athletes as they prepare to return to competition

15:15 - 27 June
Asia may have been the first continent that was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but strict guidelines remain in place across many countries, and there is still some uncertainty about when and how competition will resume.

Many of the continent's top athletes haven't given up hope, though, as they plan to return to competition - whether that be later this year or in 2021.

The latest instalment in our 'area in focus' series includes updates from world champions Gong Lijiao, Yusuke Suzuki and Liu Hong.

Liu Hong

 



Friday 26 June

 

British Championships set for 4-5 September

11:35 - 26 June
British Athletics announced today that the British Championships will take place on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 September, with events to be held behind closed doors at the Manchester Regional Arena.

The format and shape of the competition and guidelines that will be adhered to for competitors and those helping to stage the championship will be subject to the government guidelines in place and will be communicated in due course.

The championships will be broadcast live on Friday night on BBC2, 1830-2100 and Saturday, afternoon on BBC1, 1315-1630.

“We are delighted to be able to offer our athletes an opportunity to compete and still become British Champions at the end of the summer in what has been the most unprecedented of circumstances for all sport," said Joanna Coates, CEO of UK Athletics.

“We are sorry that we cannot host our brilliant athletics supporters this year but hope for a healthy return for fans at sports events next year and to welcoming spectators to next year’s Olympic trials scheduled for 26-27th June.”

 



Thursday 25 June

 

Cape Town Marathon promises virtual runners a full emmersive experience

18:15 - 25 June
Organisers of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon are looking to take virtual racing to another level.

While the race, its associated half marathon and 10km and 5km Peace runs have been cancelled, they'll still be staged virtually on 18 October, and still giving runners the look and feel of the South African city - no matter where on the planet they plan to run it.

The race app will measure the route the runners are running, and match it with scenes and sounds from the actual course. When they reach the race's 5km mark, runners will hear seagulls, crashing waves and the sale pitches of ice cream sellers which figure prominently on the oceanside promenade five kilometres into the race. At the 14.1km point, site of the town hall where Nelson Mandela first addressed the nation upon his release from prison, runners will listen to the Nobel Peace Prize winner's speech.

The app includes plenty of social media integration so runners can share their experience and will also have a real time leaderboard.

In South Africa, a number of retailers and coffee shops in several cities will be providing water tables for runners. Organisers are working on a plan with Starbucks to provide the same internationally for those virtualy running the race elsewhere.

More.

 

Live tonight: Italy vs The Rest of the World high jump competition

11:30 - 25 June
More specifically, Gianmarco Tamberi and Stefano Sottile teaming up to take on Germany's Mateusz Przybylko, the reigning European champion, and Bahamian Jamal Wilson in The Jam(p) Session, a virtual competition staged in four venues tonight, beginning at 7pm CEST.

On paper, the four are fairly evenly matched: Sottile, who will jump at his training base near Turin, has a 2.33m lifetime best; Przybylko, who'll be jumping n Leverkusen, has topped 2.35m; Wilson, who'll compete from his home base in Nassau, improved to 2.33m this past indoor season; and Tamberi, who will compete in Ancona, has a best of 2.39m that dates back to 2016.

The competitors will be competing for points, earning 1 for success over a modest opening height of 2.00m and 2.05m, 2 points for clearances at 2.10m, 2.14m and 2.18m, then 4 for successes at 2.21m, 2.24m, and 2.27m. Points then double to 8 for subsequent clearances at 2.30m or better. The jumpers will lose a point for any misses.

Additionally, if a jumper chooses to skip a height, full points of the previous height/s will be awarded if the jumper clears the next height on first attempt and half points for a second attempt clearance. Zero points are earned for previous skipped heights for third attempt clearance.

The competition will be streamed live on Facebook, Twitter, RunJumpThrow.com and Runnerspace.

 



Wednesday 24 June

 

Dongmo breaks Portuguese shot put record

21:45 - 24 June
For the second time within four days, Auriol Dongmo broke the Portuguese shot put record.

The Olympic finalist, who recently transferred allegiance from Cameroon to Portugal, threw 18.82m last weekend to smash the previous national record of 17.18m, set in 1996 by Teresa Machado. Today she returned to Lieira and added 45 centimetres to that mark, throwing a world-leading 19.27m.

She opened her series with 18.42m and then set a PB of 18.90m. She came close to her leading mark in round five, throwing 18.96m, but saved her best for last as she unleashed her 19.27m effort in the sixth and final round.

 

Berlin Marathon also cancelled

15:35 - 24 June
Just half an hour after the news from New York City, organisers of the Berlin Marathon announced that their 2020 race will not be going ahead.

"Over the past weeks, we have put a lot of commitment and effort into examining all options for holding the BMW Berlin Marathon 2020 under the given conditions," says the statement from the organisers. "We worked hard on the development of a hygiene concept and held countless discussions with our experts, the responsible authorities and service providers, among others. The examination of various options in this complex situation have taken a great deal of time. A comprehensive feasibility analysis showed that an event such as the Berlin Marathon could not be held."

"Due to the weather conditions alone and the ever shorter days, it would be very difficult to hold the BMW Berlin Marathon with its various competitions and event formats this year," said Managing Director Jurgen Lock. "Then there is the uncertainty about which regulations will apply at a later date. The question of whether athletes will be able to travel internationally again by then can also not yet be answered."

Full announcement

 

New York City Marathon cancelled

15:05 - 24 June
New York Road Runners, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of the City of New York, have made the decision to cancel the New York city Marathon due to coronavirus-related health and safety concerns for runners, spectators, volunteers, staff, and the many partners and communities that support the event.

"While the marathon is an iconic and beloved event in our city, I applaud New York Road Runners for putting the health and safety of both spectators and runners first,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We look forward to hosting the 50th running of the marathon in November of 2021."

“Canceling this year’s TCS New York City Marathon is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved, but it was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. “Marathon day and the many related events and activities during race week are part of the heart and soul of New York City and the global running community, and we look forward to coming together next year."

Full announcement

 

Discus continues to go from strength to strength

11:10 - 24 June
Last night in Maribor, Slovenia's Kristjan Ceh smashed his own national record with a throw of 68.75m, the best throw ever by an U23 athlete.

The discus is one athletics discipline that hasn’t suffered too badly during the current pandemic. Given that athletes and officials naturally keep their distance in this event, low-key competitions have been able to go ahead with relatively few problems.

World discus champion Daniel Stahl, for example, threw a world-leading 70.25m last weekend with his fellow Swede Simon Pettersson setting a PB of 67.10m in second place. Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres threw 69.67m earlier in the year, while Weisshaidinger has also been throwing well, setting a season’s best of 68.63m a few weeks ago.

With four men throwing beyond 68 metres so far this year, the standard at the top of the world list is already better than it was in 2019.

Kristjan Ceh

 

Impossibly popular

10:40 - 24 June
The stands in Bislett Stadium may have been nearly empty for Olso's Impossible Games earlier this month, but the audience watching at home was huge.

 



Tuesday 23 June

 

Weisshaidinger on top of the world

18:20 - 23 June
Most athletes have been able to try out new things while training in lockdown. But world bronze medallist Lukas Weisshaidinger is perhaps the only person on the planet to launch a discus from a 25-metre high red chair.

It wasn’t long before the Austrian thrower observed “you could throw a world record from up here” (not that it would be ratified, of course), but the 28-year-old played it safe and took a few attempts which landed about 55 metres away.

“I had weak knees, it was a strange feeling,” he said after getting down from the ‘XXXL Chair’, which is located in the Austrian town of Vösendorf. “It was pure adrenaline!”

Weisshaidinger, who threw a season’s best of 68.63m at the end of May, will next compete in St Pölten on 27 June, but he is unsure whether he will be able to compete outside of Austria this year.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

All the way up. #abouttoday #shooting #up #intheair #discus #dreambig Thank you, @olympic_team_austria 🙏🏻

A post shared by Lukas Weißhaidinger (@lukasweisshaidinger) on

 

Kolak and Ingebrigtsen brothers confirmed for Boysen Memorial

13:40 - 23 June
Olympic champion Sara Kolak and Norway’s Ingebrigtsen brothers are among the stars set to take part in the two-day Boysen Memorial at Bislett Stadium on 29-30 June.

Kolak, who will be making her season debut, will contest the javelin on the second day of action. Henrik Ingebrigtsen will take on Norwegian marathon record-holder Sondre Norstad Moen over 5000m on 29 June, while Jakob and Filip Ingebrigtsen will line up for the 800m on 30 June.

Further info and entry lists

 

🚨 Live action klaxon 🚨

11:50 - 23 June
Stockholm's Olympic Stadium will tonight host the Långlöparnas Kväll ('Evening long run'), a 10,000m race featuring several top Swedish runners, plus a few international guests.

Eritrea's 2014 world half marathon silver medallist Samuel Tsegay is entered, so too is steeplechaser-turned-road-runner Mustafa Mohamed and his predecessor as Swedish marathon record-holder, David Nilsson.

The competition will be streamed on the event's facebook page, starting at 6:45pm local time. The fastest heat is scheduled for 9:30pm.

 



Monday 22 June

 

Udo-Gabriel on training alone during lockdown and what lies ahead

17:50 - 22 June
In the latest installment of the Making of Champions Athlete Diaries series on Twitter, Nigerian sprinter Joy Udo-Gabriel discussed training under the Covid-19 lockdown and what's on her horizon when lockdown and competition restrictions are finally lifted.

"It was really difficult training alone," she said. "I’m used to training with people. If you've a training partner, it’s better than being alone. You need a lot of discipline because you'll get tired easily. It would look as if you’ve never done these things because you’re alone."

"I eventually got used to it," she continued. "The first week was terrible. Even the week after but I started getting used to training alone & doing some things on my own without being told: 'you've to train, you've the Olympics waiting for you' and so on. I got programmes from my coach."

More in the thread.

 

Xie still chasing Olympic triple final ambitions

14:00 - 22 June
This year's curtailed season hasn't dampened sprinter Xie Zhenye's ambitions of becoming the first Chinese sprinter to reach the Olympic finals of the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.

"With the postponement of the Olympic Games, I need to be more patient and focused and make good use of this additional year to get better prepared for the Games," the 27-year-old told the Xinhua news service.

Xie stirred some waves last year with a 19.88 dash to win the 200m at London's Diamond League fixture, an Asian record. He reached the Doha final in that event finishing seventh. He was hoping to build on that this year, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Xie trained with his national teammates in the United States for four months during the winter and according to his original plan, he would take part in a series of outdoor races in Europe and the US to tune up for the Tokyo Games. But with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything needs to be re-planned.

Xie flew to China's coastal city of Qinhuangdao at the end of March, and after a 28-day quarantine, returned to Beijing to start his lockdown training session.

"Although most of the competitions have been canceled or postponed, I can still compete in some virtual events and testing events organized by the national team," Xie said. "I am working closely with my coach and sticking to our new preparation plan. Our aim is to maintain my good form until the Tokyo Games next year."

More.

 

Postcards from Oceania

11:30 - 22 June
In case you missed it, we concluded our Oceania Area in Focus series yesterday with a collection of images of athletes from throughout the area, giving a little more insight into how they trained or just simply passed their time during lockdown.

Take a look.

 



 

 

Previous updates:

20-22 March | 23-25 March | 26-28 March | 29-31 March | 1-3 April | 4-8 April | 9-12 April | 13-17 April | 18-22 April | 23-28 April | 29 April - 3 May | 4-8 May | 9-13 May | 14-19 May | 20-24 May | 25-31 May1-7 June| 8-14 June | 15-21 June