British middle distance runner Eilish McColgan training near Manchester (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News

The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus - 8-14 June


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

Updates by Jon Mulkeen and Bob Ramsak



Sunday 14 June

 

Throws in the spotlight

17:40 - 14 June
It has been something of a recurring them in recent weeks, but once again the throwing events have produced some of the best performances internationally this weekend.

Tatsiana Khaladovich

Some of the highlights:

- a 63.80m javelin throw from 2016 European champion Tatsiana Khaladovich
- a 66.70m throw from world discus bronze medallist Lukas Weisshaidinger
- a 65.68m effort from Slovenian discus record-holder Kristjan Ceh

All this and more can be found in this weekend's round-up.

 

Cheruiyot and Manangoi invite Ingebrigtsens to Nairobi for rematch

14:20 - 14 June
Following the cross-continent 2000m race at the Impossible Games earlier this week, world 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot has invited the Ingebrigtsen brothers for a rematch of sorts on Kenyan soil.

The race on Thursday was held in Oslo, where Jakob, Filip and Henrik raced, and in Nairobi, where Cheruiyot, Elijah Manangoi and Ed Melly competed. Jakob Ingebrigtsen won in a European record of 4:50.01 with his two brothers also finishing comfortably inside five minutes.

Cheruiyot, meanwhile, was the fastest of the Kenyan quintet, but his time of 5:03.05 was some way adrift of the winning mark.

The difference in conditions, however, between the two locations was stark. Not only is Nairobi at 1795m altitude, which has a significant effect on endurance events, but there was also heavy rain in the Kenyan capital. Oslo, meanwhile, was blessed with near perfect conditions.

"We want to invite them for training in Kenya and to compete at the Continental Tour meeting (in Nairobi on 26 September)," said Cheruiyot, who congratulated the Ingebrigstens on their victory. "It would be nice if they came and experienced the altitude and weather in Nairobi."

Manangoi, the 2017 world champion, is also keen to run with the Norwegian family. "We would like to face them in Nairobi and I take this opportunity to invite them for the Continental Tour," he said.

More

 

Bigger issues at play than sport, says Hill

14:05 - 14 June
Many athletes have had to adapt their training in recent months, but 2017 Diamond League shot put champion Darrell Hill has gone one step further and has switched coaches.

The 22.44m putter recently moved to Arizona to join the group coached by 2014 world indoor champion Ryan Whiting.

Darrell Hill

"I've always been in search of getting better, and I just felt that with the relationship I had with Ryan, he could help me go to the next level," Hill told Track and Field News. "There were things I was experiencing in my own career as far as injuries and battling back through that and things that I just knew that a person like Ryan, who has gone through it, can help me."

But with everything going on in the world - not just the coronavirus pandemic, but also the murder of George Floyd - Hill admits that athletics has taken a bit of a backseat in recent weeks.

"Truthfully, to be honest, it’s really, really been tough. Ryan does a good job of just kind of checking in on me every day. Just making sure, understanding that there’s real things going on in this world right now. I’ve tried to do my best to keep my routine as much as I can because I try to use sport as a break or relief from some of the things that go on.

“I try to use that period of time to just focus on a craft; you know, to allow my mind to not just be stuck in one upsetting heavy place for 24 hours, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say shot put doesn’t matter as much right now."

More here and here

 



Saturday 13 June

 

Karlstrom targets Swedish record

18:05 - 13 June
Among the top-level athletics action due to take place this weekend is a 15,000m race walk Swedish record attempt by world bronze medallist Perseus Karlstrom in Eskilstuna on Sunday (14).

Karlstrom, who already holds national records for a range of race-walking disciplines, from the track mile to the road 50km, will be targeting Stefan Johansson's mark of 58:52.9, set in 1992. That roughly equates to 3:55 per kilometre.

Perseus doesn't have an official PB for 15,000m on the track, but he passed through the 15km point in 58:30 on his way to a 20km national record of 1:18:07 in La Coruna last year, so Johansson's record appears within reach.

While the national record is Karlstrom's main target, he may not be far off Jozef Pribilinec's European best of 58:22.4. And the world best, in case you're wondering, belongs to Bernardo Segura at 57:47.0.

The race will get underway at 8:30am CEST and will be streamed live here:

 

Survey reveals more than 50% of international sportspeople struggling with training and motivation

15:35 - 13 June
The Athlete365 community recently surveyed more than 4000 people from 135 countries to try to understand the current challenges faced by sportspeople and their entourages.

In response to the question, "What are you currently finding most challenging?", 56% of respondents said that they were finding it hard to train effectively, while 50% said they were struggling to keep motivated.

Managing mental health and managing sports careers (both 32%) were the next two biggest challenges, followed by managing nutrition and diet (30%). Isolation from the wider athlete community (29%) and funding sports careers (27%) were also revealed to be challenges impacting a significant number.

Full survey results. And more about the survey.

 

Lyles' trial

13:30 - 13 June
This time last year, Noah Lyles was lighting up the Diamond League circuit with a series of scintillating sprint performances.

Like every other international athlete, the world 200m champion's 2020 campaign looks quite different to previous seasons. But in the absence of proper races, he took to the track on Friday for a 300m time trial.

His result was 31.51 - a time that just seven other men in history have bettered in a competition setting.

 



Friday 12 June

 

All systems go for Paavo Nurmi Games

18:30 - 12 June
Organisers have announced that all systems are go for the Paavo Nurmi Games, set for 11 August in Turku, Finland, the next gold level meeting on the World Athletics Continental Tour.

Organisers are planning for a programme of 12 events - the 100m, 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles, 3000m steeplechase and the discus and javelin throws for men, and the 1500m, 100m hurdles, long jump, triple jump, pole vault and high jump for women. Along with a prize pot of USD120,000.

"We are genuinely building the competition almost according to the original plan now," said Jari Salonen, the CEO of organisers PN Turku Oy. Based upon recent conversations with managers, Salonen said he believes that many athletes will be available to compete by mid-August.

"We still don’t have answers how people can travel between countries in August or what kind of flights will be available, but two months is a long time. We believe the amount of flight connections will grow, when countries are opening up again."

Organisers are abiding by all restrictions on gatherings at sporting events. At the moment, that means a crowd of 2000-3000 people can be expected.

 

Herman hurdles 12.70 world lead in Minsk

16:00 - 12 June
European champion Elvira Herman clocked a world-leading 12.70 (+1.9) in the 100m hurdles at a sprints and hurdles meeting in Minsk today.

That performance, equalling the 23-year-old's fourth fastest ever, came in the heats. She later won the final in 12.66, albeit with a 2.6 mps tailwind. Full results are here.

Later today (18 local, GMT+3) the Belarusian athletics spotlight falls on its javelin throwers at live streamed competition that gets underway at 18:00 local (GMT+3). The line-up includes Tatyana Kholodovich, Alexei Kotkovets, Alexander Kozlovsky, Valery Izotov, Nikolai Klimuk, Polina Losko and Karina Butkevich. And you can watch it here:

 

Drive-in pole vault set to go in Dusseldorf tonight

12:00 - 12 June
That's right - as in a drive-in movie. But the stars will be jumping live instead of performing on a screen.

A pole vaulting facility will be set up in the Autokino Düsseldorf, where three of the country’s leading pole vaulters will compete, surrounded by the spectators' cars.

Local stars including 2013 world champion Raphael Holzdeppe, 2019 World Championships fourth-place finisher Bo Kanda Lita Baehre and World University Games silver medallist Torben Blech will be taking part, along with Belgium's Ben Broeders and Dutch vaulters Menno Vloon and Rutger Koppelaar.

The competition kicks off at 21:45 local time and will be streamed live. You can watch it here.

 



Thursday 11 June

 

Pulli breaks Finnish long jump record in Leppävaara

19:00 11 June
Twenty-five-year-old Kristian Pulli, the 2013 European U20 silver medallist, broke the Finnish record in the long jump, sailing 8.27m (1.8m/s) at a small meeting in Leppävaara, Espoo, near Helsinki. That broke the 8.22m mark set in 2008 and 2010 by Tommi Evila, the 2005 World Championships bronze medallist.

Watch it now.

 

Road racing returns in Ireland

15:25 - 11 June
Albeit, it a very controlled environment.

Race organising and timing company Pop Up Races staged a 5km test event in Clane, County Kildare on Tuesday night, with 32 invited runners - all with current government guidelines on social distancing and limits on mass gatherings.

The runner were grouped by ability (i.e. expected finish time) and competing in groups of four, with the starts staggered from between 30 and 90 seconds with the aim that athletes only pass or get overtaken by those within their own group. The chip time was their finish time.

Brian Conroy, one of the company's founders, said that the primary reason for the race was to gather input from runners so the concept can be improved upon in the future.

I believe that there is an appetite among runners to race, and that the participants have enough sense to continue with handwashing and social distancing and keep any potential risk to a minimum," Conroy said.

"Depending on the success or not of this event, we have some other locations lined up to open small races like these up to the general public later in June."

 

Where to watch tonight's Impossible Games from Oslo

11:15 - 11 June
Tonight's Impossible Games, brought you by organisers of Oslo's Bislett Games, will be an athletics meeting with more twists than you can count. And you can watch it live, too.

Here's a listing of television coverage by territory - at the moment, that list includes more than 100 countries. In most other areas, a live stream will be available on the Wanda Diamond League Facebook and YouTube channels. The programme begins at 19:25 local time.

And in case you missed it, our preview is here.

 



Wednesday 10 June

 

New dates set for European U18 Championships

20:20 - 10 June

 

Disciplines confirmed for Monaco

17:40 - 10 June
Organisers of the Wanda Diamond League meeting, aka 'Herculis', have confirmed the line-up of disciplines for the competition on 14 August.

 

I don’t think you’re ready for Ed Melly

15:20 - 10 June
One of the highlights of Thursday’s Impossible Games is the 2000m duel between Team Ingebrigtsen, competing in Oslo, and Team Cheruiyot, competing in Nairobi.

In an ordinary scenario, world and Diamond League 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot would be the favourite, given he has won 22 of his 25 races since the start of 2018. But this will be no ordinary race.

For a start, Cheruiyot and the rest of his teammates will have to contend with the altitude of Nairobi – hardly conducive to fast times in endurance events. And then there’s the issue of his training in recent months.

With the Olympics postponed until 2021, Cheruiyot was able to spend more time farming tea, maize, and potatoes back home in Bomet County throughout March and April. And while the Impossible Games has helped motivate Cheruiyot to get back into decent racing shape, it might also be worth keeping an eye out for one of his training partners.

Edwin Melly, a new recruit at the Rongai Athletics Club, is the 2012 world U20 800m bronze medallist and set a PB of 1:43.81 for the distance at the age of 18. Injuries have stalled his progress in recent years, but now he is back to full fitness.

“He’s in very good shape,” RAC head coach Bernard Ouma told LetsRun.com. “If things were normal, he’d be a force to be reckoned with [in the Diamond League], judging by what I’ve seen him doing in training. Not having good experience on the world stage could be something to worry about…[but] I expect him to run very well come Thursday. He’s the strongest in the group as we speak.”

More

 



Tuesday 9 June

 

Kipchoge, Bekele, Kamworor and the rest of the world 'run as one'

16:45 - 9 June
More than 100,000 runners from all continents joined the NN Running Team's 'MA RA TH ON' relay last weekend.

Teams of four ran 10.5km each, and many of NN Running Team's top athletes were randomly assigned to teams. Kipchoge, who clocked 31:28 for his effort, teamed up with three amateur runners from Brazil.

"Today I ran for my Brazilian team," he posted on Instagram. "But together we have all run as one. Runners from all over the world have joined us and showed how ours is a running world."

MA RA TH ON in numbers

 

World-class athletics at Weltklasse – and across the globe – at Zurich’s Inspiration Games

14:25 - 9 June
With Weltklasse Zurich unable to go ahead as planned this year, innovation-driven meeting organisers have instead launched the 'Inspiration Games', a border-spanning Wanda Diamond League exhibition event to be held on 9 July.

The 'Weltklasse Zurich Inspiration Games' will see 30 track and field superstars compete across eight disciplines in an innovative team event spanning seven stadiums and three continents. The aim is not only to provide live sport for athletics fans across the world, but also to inspire the next generation.

The innovative format will see the world's best athletes line up in a series of three-way clashes between Europe, the USA and the rest of the world. In the 150m, for example, Bahamian Olympic 400m champion and 200m Diamond League champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo will take on US star and six-time Olympic champion Allyson Felix and Switzerland's world bronze medallist Mujinga Kambundi. While Kambundji will burst out of the blocks in Zurich, Felix will compete in Walnut, California, and Miller-Uibo in Miramar, Florida.

More

Zurich Weltklasse

 



Monday 8 June

 

Lansiquot: this moment 'is a fantastic opportunity to be a hope, and not just wish for hope'

19:35 - 8 June
In a video posted to her Instagram account, British sprinter Imani-Lara Lansiquot spoke about the anti-racist protests that have been spreading across the planet in the wake of the brutal killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer who choked the life out of him by kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

As the world watched George Floyd take his last breaths on the 25th of May, I think a lot of black people across the world were reminded and triggered of the systemic and historical and racial attacks that we have sadly endured for a really long time.

I've been extremely lucky to run for my country, to represent my country to do laps of honour all around the world with the Union Jack on my back, but sadly there have been times when racial abuse and racist behaviours have made me feel like an outsider, made me feel like I'm less than human.

For the first time, she continued,

People are talking about things that in the past made them feel uncomfortable. I'm just a believer that introspection should always precede action. This is a time when you can start a change by looking at yourself. This could be deeply held assumptions and biases that you're not even aware of but you're going to confront now because you've been awakened to it. It's about confronting colleagues, friends, family members, that say things that could be deemed discriminatory. It's about asking questions. Not being afraid to ask questions. Because if there is going to be any change we really have to go at this at the root. And really attack things that are ingrained in us that we didn't even know exist.

And, about social media:

The culture of social media is ever-changing. And sadly this is one of those things that has not changed - something that we need to change. and so don't forget about this when the trends and the hashtags fizzle out. This is a reality for too many people.

A great reflection and call to action. Watch it in full.

 

Gebrselassie joins Ethiopian world champions in virtual 5km finale in Addis Ababa

16:35 - 8 June
Ethiopia’s distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie joined two current Ethiopian world champions, Muktar Idris and Netsanet Gudeta, and former world champion Gete Wami to take part in the final day of a virtual 5km run in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Gebrselassie, Idris, Gudeta and Wami took part in a “champions’ relay” over 5km to close the event which had opened on Monday, 1 June, and has raised more than 100,000 Ethiopian birr for Ethiopia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 500 participants including runners from around the world took part in the run which was organised by the Great Ethiopian Run.

The champions’ relay took place at the Addis Ababa Stadium and saw Gebrselassie teaming up with Gudeta, the 2018 world half marathon champion, against the Idris and Wami, respectively the 2019 world 5000m champion and 1999 word 10,000m champion. Gebrselassie and Gudeta covered their 5km in 16:57.26 while Idris and Wami ran 18:56.49. The event was broadcast live in Ethiopia on Fana TV.

“This is a difficult time not only for athletes in Ethiopia, but for the whole country,” Gebrselassie, now 46, said. “Our hope is that this race will motivate our citizens to stay fit and keep exercising while we fight the disease.”

Gebrselassie still trains daily on his treadmill at home. He has been a prominent campaigner on national media during Ethiopia’s fight against the disease. In April he featured in a campaign video to encourage Ethiopians to stay at home and practise social distancing and spoke again on Sunday about the importance of measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Ethiopia has confirmed 2020 cases of infection from COVID-19 and 27 deaths until today.

 

Continental Tour resumes tonight in Prague

14:30 - 8 June
After a pause of some 17 weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, the World Athletics Continental Tour resumes this evening - albeit in a slightly more modest form - with the 27th Odlozil Memorial in Prague, a Bronze level meeting.

Eleven events are on the programme, which kicks off at 17:10 local time with the women's pole vault and concludes at 21:05 with the men's 200m. With some restrictions on assembly and travel still in place, the fields will be limited with the majority of the athletes from the Czech Republic or Slovakia.

Among the Local stars expected to compete include sprinter Pavel Maslak and javelin throwers Jakub Vadlejch and Nikola Ogrodnikova. Jan Volko, the European indoor 60m champion of Slovakia, heads the field in the 100m.

The meet will be streamed live on Czech national television here. The timetable is here, the start lists here and the live results will be here.

 

As a fifth Olympic appearane looms, Dahlgren relishing role model role

11:00 - 8 June
In this Tokyo2020 feature, Argentinean hammer thrower Jennifer Dahlgren discussed the motivations that have taken her to four Olympic appearances, seven World Championships and a slew of regional and continental competitions. She also opens up about the ways she has used sport to combat bullying early in life, overcoming low self-esteem issues later and now acting as a role model.

The first Jenny, before she was an Olympian, was one who was lost... hurt by herself and by other people. She was bullied. Insecurities surrounded her all the time and she blamed her own body. Athletics broke the cycle. When she took up the hammer for the very first time, she somehow also took hold of her own life.

"I found my shield as an athlete. At 15-years-old I was suffering bullying. And I was thinking: 'My body will be horrible, but at least it allows me to excel at this (hammer throwing)'. And this was the first band-aid. I started to forgive my body for being the way it was.”

“On the field, I found a group of hammer throwers who were just like me. They always spoke about my body in terms of it being a sporting advantage. So that was like yin and yang. At school everything was negative, but in sport everything was positive. That was the first thing sport gave me. Later I found my great passion for hammer throwing and a lifestyle that I was very passionate about: training, challenging myself, travelling, competing, winning… I really liked all of that from an early age."

And, on her work to helping others who have dealt with similar pains:

"For me, helping other people is inspirational because I believe a lot of girls are suffering from feeling isolated. If your mindset is negative, you are going to keep making negative decisions. That's why we have to step forward and talk about these things. The easiest thing to do is to say that society is horrible. The most difficult thing is, even if you don't like the social mindset, to try to provoke change. The books and speeches are my way of contributing to the change that I want to see."

However, those messages didn't arrive in time for a 15-years-old Jenny who needed them. "I would like to talk to her, but I think 15-year-old Jenny wouldn't have listened to me. Particularly, I would say 'love yourself'. All the time I spent hating my life is time wasted."

"We have to love ourselves and drop our insecurities and other people's expectations. We have to be honest with ourselves and work on everything we want to gain from loving ourselves."

Read the rest.

 



 

 

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