Ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes training in California's Mount Tamalpais State Park which recently reopened after being closed for months due to the coronavirus. (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News

The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus - 15-21 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| 8-14 June

Updates by Jon Mulkeen and Bob Ramsak

Sunday 21 June


How do you celebrate Father's Day with one of the best pole vaulters of all-time?

12:45 - 21 June
Renaud Lavillenie's daughter Iris clearly knows - with a pole vault runway and pit made of sweets, of course.

View this post on Instagram

C’est une journée qui commence bien avec Iris et Anais 🥰 Un sautoir à la perche en bonbon pour la fête des pères, j’adore 🤩 ( merci nounou 👌🏼)

A post shared by Renaud Lavillenie 🇫🇷 (@airlavillenie) on

I wonder: who ate most of it?


Oregon TC Elite prevails in virtual dual

11:30 - 21 June
The Oregon Track Club Elite defeated the Atlanta Track Club Elite in the Return of the Dual event on Saturday, a virtual head-to-head team competition staged in venues more than 4300 kilometres apart.

Starring 2012 Olympic 800m silver medalist Nijel Amos of Botswana and 2014 world indoor 800m champion Chanelle Price, the Oregon club defeated their east coast competitors 6 to 1 in a five event meet where individual races were worth one point and the grand finale – a 2x2x400 meter relay – was worth three points.

In the opening event, the 600m, Amos (1:17.84) finished ahead of Atlanta’s Dylan Capwell (1:18.93) by just over one second. Price’s (1:27.83) 600m competition was not as close as she bested Atlanta’s Rachael Walters (1:34.73) by seven seconds.

In the men’s 1200m, Oregon Track Club Elite’s Vince Ciattei (2:53.66) made a late race surge to defeat Abraham Alvarado (2:56.38). Atlanta’s sole point came in the women’s 1200m where Yolanda Ngarambe (3:20.97) put forth a strong solo effort after the late withdrawal of OTC Elite’s Hanna Green.

Atlanta Track Club was still in the hunt as the teams prepared for the unique relay in which each team’s male and female runners would alternate running 400m twice. Avery Bartlett and Megan Malasarte gave Atlanta an early lead over Jake Heyward and Sabrina Southerland. But the Oregon duo ran strong second legs to win the relay 3:46.22 to 3:51.29 and take the overall title.

“We were the only team at the track, but this didn’t feel like practice. It felt like a meet,” said Swede Ngarambe. “After working so hard this spring, it’s nice to have a chance to test our fitness and raise money for a good cause.”

The event benefitted the Atlanta Mission and Food for Lane County with a goal of raising US$10,400 to be split equally between the two organisations. As of early this morning, $7103 had been raised. Donations are open through June 30 at returnofthedual.org.

The meet took place at Landmark Christian School in Fairburn, Georgia - where seasonable summer conditions meant it was 32 C degrees, sunny and humid with light winds at race time - and Hamlin Middle School in Springfield, Oregon, where there were light showers, light winds and temperatures in the low 20s. The event was broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube and can still be watched here.


Saturday 20 June


Nait-Hammou still optimistic

22:10 - 20 June
After competing in the steeplechase at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 last year, Athlete Refugee Team member Otmane Nait-Hammou had planned on competing at three more global championships in 2020: the World Indoor Championships, the World Half Marathon Championships, and the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

But after a promising start to the year, everything ground to a halt with the global coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Nait-Hammou took it in stride, but admits it wasn’t easy.

“To be honest, I was depressed in the beginning," he said. "I couldn’t do my training programme as we had planned. And I couldn’t get together with friends. So it was a hard situation. But this athletics experience has given me patience.” And plenty of motivation.

“Honestly, I'm used to suffering,” he says, again with a smile. “For me, one year is nothing. It's just one year. It will be a good season with the World Indoor Championships next year and then the Olympics. I'm positive and I'm optimistic.”



Oceania's finest anticipate imminant return to domestic competition

19:20 - 20 June
It might still be difficult - in fact, near impossibe - to travel to Europe for Diamond League meetings, but Australia's and New Zealand's elite athletes are hopeful of competing domestically at least before 2020 is out.

"We're realistic about the ability to travel and the advice now remains ‘don’t go’," explains world javelin champion Kelsey-Lee Barber. "There should be local competition starting up at the end of this year and we’ll pick two or three competitions in Canberra and maybe Brisbane."

Similarly, high jumper Brandon Starc, discus thrower Dani Stevens and pole vaulters Eliza McCartney and Kurtis Marschall have all managed to achieve decent form while in lockdown, but are content to wait until 2021 to show it.



As the world gets back to normal, Planet Earth Games underlines importance of the 'four Rs'

14:10 - 20 June
The Planet Earth Games, the world’s first environment themed multi-sports event, is encouraging people to continue with the good habits they've developed while in lockdown.

"Since the start of the global lockdown, the world has seen the largest drop of carbon emissions, ever!," said the Planet Earth Games website. "Landmarks which were previously hidden by smog are now visible, the air is now cleaner than anyone can remember and people are thinking more about their impact on the environment.

"As everyone is starting to get back to their normal, hectic and busy lives, we need to make sure that the new normal is a better normal. The easy way to make sure that the eco-trend continues is to always remember the 4Rs. In this order of priority, remember to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle."



Friday 19 June


After large public outcry, Brown University reverses decision to cut track and cross country programmes

15:00 - 19 June
In case you missed it, last week Brown University reversed its decision to cut its mens' track and cross country programmes after student-athletes organised a petition drive to save the sports. Via a grassroots effort, more than 50,000 signatures were collected over a two-week period.

Eric Ingram, a student-athlete on the team, helped organise the effort. CNN reports:

"We got a group together of all the student athletes of color and, in wake of everything that's happening in America, we decided that it's an incredibly accurate and timely example of just why we're put in these situations and why we face what we face in terms of systematic racism and just all these hard challenges we have to overcome," Ingram said. "And Brown indirectly made it harder for us to overcome those obstacles and clear those hurdles."


"Our students, alumni and parents took the time to share their deeply personal stories of the transformative impact that participation in track, field and cross country has had on their lives," Brown President Christina H. Paxson wrote in a letter to the Brown community. "Many noted that, through Brown's history, these sports have been a point of entry to higher education for academically talented students who otherwise would not have had the opportunity, many of them students of color."

Students were quick to mobilise.

Within two hours of the announcement from Brown in May, Ingram said alumni quickly mobilized on Facebook. The group consisted of former Brown student athletes, current Brown student athletes, former Brown coaches, parents, and former Olympians -- anyone who shared a common goal of wanting Brown to reverse its decision, according to Ingram.

In response to Brown's decision, athletes from the sports teams who were stripped of their rank coordinated efforts and created six online petitions championing for their sport to hold onto its classification, according to the student publication at Brown, The Brown Daily Herald. Additionally, captains from each of the demoted teams authored an open letter to Brown administrators, The Herald said.



German javelin giants to square off in long-distance match today

09:35 - 19 June
German javelin stars Johannes Vetter, Thomas Röhler, Andreas Hofmann and Christin Hussong among others will square off for the first time this season - but competing at three different venues.

Vetter, the 2017 world champion, will compete in Offenburg, where he'll be joined by 2018 European silver medallist Andreas Hofmann and European champion Christin Hussong.

Rohler, who recently relocated his training base to Erfurt, will compete at the city's Steigerwald Stadium.

Rising star Annika Fuchs, the European U23 champion, is also on the bill.

The German federation DLV will stream the competitions via Instagram from 4-6pm local time.


Thursday 18 June


Sagnia leaps 6.81 world lead in Moldnal

23:15 - 18 June
Swede Khaddi Sagnia leaped a world-leading 6.81m at a meeting in Moldnal, near Gothenburg, tonight.

It was also a personal best for the 26-year-old, eclipsing a 6.78m jump from 2015. Sagnia has gone farther indoors, reaching 6.92m in Glasgow two years ago, a few weeks before finishing sixth at the World Indoor Championships.


Join the Fitter With Friends challenge today

14:30 - 18 June
World Athletics has just launched 'Fitter With Friends', a six-week global campaign to assist runners around the world to stay motivated and continue their health routines as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

And to help do so, we've recruited six of the best athletes in the world to help us all out.

Each week, a different athlete will set a fun fitness challenge to complete, by video, and offer workouts and wisdom to help everyone complete the challenge and improve their fitness.

To take part simply sign up for the challenge on World Athletics’ website for exclusive access to these challenges. From 25 June to the end of July, six of the world’s best athletes invite you and a friend to take the weekly challenge to get “Fitter with Friends”.

The programme is free and (!!) offers rewards. Sign up today.


Wednesday 17 June


Cheruiyot hopes to be ready for Olympics in 2021

23:15 - 17 June
At the end of January, Vivian Cheruiyot was named on Kenya's marathon team for the Olympic Games.

After winning Olympic 5000m gold in 2016, the Kenyan had moved up to the marathon with great success, winning the 2018 London Marathon in 2:18:31 - good enough for fourth on the world all-time list at that time.

Vivian Cheruiyot

A tendon injury ruled her out of the Berlin Marathon last year, but she went on to finish fourth in a high-quality race in Valencia in 2:18:52.

The 36-year-old made her Olympic debut in 2000, just 11 days after turning 17, and the Tokyo Games would be her fifth Olympic appearance. Although Kenya may change its marathon team before the 2021 Games, Cheruiyot still hopes to make it there and contend for another gold medal.

"One year is a long time in sport and I want to be in my best shape to compete," she told Xinhua. "But I will be patient and see how the season unfolds. The important thing, for now, is to remain safe.

"It is the same thing I tell the young athletes of today: be patient, be disciplined and run clean. Always train hard and be focused, the victory will follow."



Gemili's new event: hurdling dogs

20:35 - 17 June
British sprinter Adam Gemili has been based in Florida along with the rest of Rana Reider's training group for most of the year so far.

Along with the likes of world 100m hurdles champion Nia Ali and triple Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse, Gemili has been unable to train on the track at the University of Florida, their usual training base. So instead they have been trying to find alternative solutions.

"We've just been trying to run anywhere we can, dodging dogs and all sorts,” Gemili told Athletics Weekly. "We've been thrown off more fields than I can count – I think dog walkers have been complaining about us.

"It's challenging but I'm just trying to stay as fit as possible in the hopes there might be some kind of a season later this year."

When he heard the Olympics had been postponed a year, he enjoyed a 'blowout' weekend with pizza but then soon got back into training.

"We got it out of our systems, reset and come the Monday we went again. A lot of people’s sponsorship deals are coming to an end this year and if you don’t compete this year if you can, it won’t help you get a new one. That’s a big motivation for a lot of athletes, me included."



Poland prepares for more top-level action

18:15 - 17 June
Each Thursday for the next six weeks, a shot put or pole vault sector will be constructed in the shadow of the TVP headquarters in Warsaw. Each competition will feature some of the country's top athletics stars and their exploits will also be shown live on Polish television.

The men's shot put will take centre stage tomorrow and features European champion Michal Haratyk and 2017 European indoor champion Konrad Bukowiecki.

"For now, I do not aspire to throw far," said Bukowiecki. "First of all, I would like to return to my starting rhythm. In my recent training, the shot landed beyond the 20 metre-line. I do not expect that Michal and I will start the season with record results. But that may change soon."

Next Thursday, world brone medallist Piotr Lisek will take on 2011 world champion Pawel Wojciechowski in a pole vault competition. And in July there will be a high jump contest, featuring 2014 world indoor champion Kamila Licwinko and 2017 European indoor champion Sylwester Bednarek.



Tuesday 16 June


Hubert cracks 8000

18:45 - 16 June
It may have been wind-assisted and achieved in an unofficial competition, but Axel Hubert has scored the first 8000+ decathlon of 2020.

"When international competitions were cancelled, I had to find a new goal," he posted on Instagram. "So last weekend I set up a solo decathlon, judged by my family and close friends."

Hubert and his co-organisers tried their best to recreate competition conditions, using electronic timing, a wind gauge, and even replicated the standard breaks in time between each discipline.

His marks were:
100m: 10.96 (4.0m/s)
Long jump: 7.18m (2.5m/s)
Shot put: 15.00m
High jump: 1.92m
400m: 50.48
110m hurdles: 14.20 (-2.5m/s)
Discus: 43.96m
Pole vault: 4.70m
Javelin: 69.33m
1500m: 4:40

Total: 8113

Had it been an official competition, his marks in the shot put, discus and javelin - and his overall score - would have been PBs.

"The purpose of this competition was to test my condition and to take stock of the work carried out," he said. "Now it's time to confirm this score in a competition."

View this post on Instagram

🔥8113 points🔥 Record pulvérisé au décathlon (non-officialisé) Lors de l'annulation et du report des compétitions internationales (JO et championnats d'Europe) en mars j'ai du me trouver un nouvel objectif pour éviter la saison blanche. J'ai donc décidé de mettre en place le week end du 13/14 juin un décathlon en solo jugé par ma famille et mes amis proches. Le décathlon a été organisé de façon à respecter les conditions réelles : chronomètre électrique, anémomètre, mesures, poids des engins, temps de passage des concours, horaires des épreuves... Le but de ce décathlon était de tester mon état de forme et de faire le point sur le travail effectué pour voir les axes à travailler pour les échéances de 2020-2021. Voilà mes performances sur ces deux journées : 100m 10''96 v+4m/s record Longueur 7m18 v+2,5m/s Poids 15m00 record Hauteur 1m92 (4 foulées) 400m 50''48 110m haies 14''20 v-2,5m/s (record en décathlon) Disque 43m96 record Perche 4m70 Javelot 69m33 record 1500m 4''40 1er jour 4041 points 2ème jour 4072 points TOTAL 8113 points Sans ma famille je ne serai pas l'athlète que je suis aujourd'hui. Merci à mon père (mon coach) pour le duo que nous faisons. À ma mère, ma sœur @helene_hubs et ma chérie @barbarapelage pour leurs implications quotidiennes. Je finis ce décathlon sans douleur, ni blessure et ça je peux remercier mon kiné Adrien Looc pour le travail qu'il fournit chaque semaine et sa présence sur ces deux jours mais aussi @zenmassages mon masseur. A toutes les autres personnes impliquées dans mon projet, je suis fier de ce qu'on fait ensemble ! Mes partenaires : @pebaxpowered, @arkemagroup, @espace_bien_etre_bernay , @monsieur_et_ses_ateliers, @zenmassages Let's goooo on se revoit pour confirmer ça dans un championnat. Photos : @shinjivitaly Une vidéo de mon déca complet verra le jour dans quelques semaines, restez connectés !

A post shared by Axel Hubert (@axelhbt) on


Stay for another season or move on? The dilemma for NCAA seniors

16:25 - 16 June
Hundreds of university students in the USA have had their senior season of track and field cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In mid-March, one day before the NCAA Indoor Championships, it was announced that there would be no collegiate competitions for the remainder of the year. The NCAA later confirmed that athletes could opt to return next year and use a final year of eligibility, but for many it hasn’t been an easy decision to make.

“I was sad and disappointed,” sprinter Chris Brodnax told Runner’s World. “Even if I didn’t reach the goals that I set this year, I at least wanted to try and be there for my teammates. I wanted to be a leader to push all of my teammates that are coming after me to set their goals and train, because I knew my time was basically up.”


View this post on Instagram

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: CHRIS BRODNAX - Words of Wisdom: Never think you can't accomplish a goal if you set your mind to it. People will mock you and count you out because your dreams seem over-exaggerated or crazy. But your wildest dreams can always become a reality no matter how big. Just remember, if you don't aim too high then you've aimed too low. - What I'll Miss Most: The family that I've been a part of for the last four years on this team. This year hurts the most since it's honestly my favorite team of all the years I've been here. The bonds and experiences I've shared here is something I'll never forget and cherish forever. To all the coaches and my teammates: I love you all from the bottom of my heart! - #clusports #ownthethrone #whyd3 #d3tf #callutheran #trackandfield #runnerspace #classof2020

A post shared by Cal Lutheran Track & Field (@clu_track_field) on


parkrun returns in New Zealand

11:55 - 16 June
New Zealand's exemplary handling of the coronavirus crisis means the country has, by and large, been able to resume normal life in recent weeks.

Major sporting events can now go ahead in New Zealand and, as of Sunday 4 July, parkrun will return.

"Throughout the period of closure we have spoken to event teams and ambassadors, and surveyed parkrunners. We have also closely followed developments in all countries in which we operate and are confident that the return of parkrun in New Zealand is both appropriate and safe," said parkrun's Asia Pacific territory manager Renee Gimbert.

"Although Alert Level 1 has meant the relaxation of almost all restrictions, we are still reviewing possible further operational changes we may wish or need to make in order to deliver our events going forward."



Monday 15 June


Atlanta and Oregon track clubs set for 'Return of the Dual' clash on Saturday

19:15 - 15 June
The Atlanta Track Club and Oregon Track Club Elite will square off in a remote dual meet on Saturday 20 June.

The head-to-head event will feature athletes from the rival clubs competing remotely in two distances and a mixed relay to raise money to fight homelessness and hunger in the greater Atlanta and Lane County areas. The one-time-only competition will be broadcast live on Atlanta Track Club’s YouTube channel and Facebook page at 19:00 US east coast time.

The “Return of the Dual” will consist of a men’s and women’s 600m and 1200m races each featuring one athlete per club. The winner of each discipline receives one point. The evening will conclude with a 2x2x400m split gender relay made up of two athletes from each team. The winning relay team receives three points. The team with the highest point total will be crowned champion. Athletes in Atlanta and TrackTown USA will begin their races simultaneously. The winner will be decided by hand time.

The event will serve as a fundraiser for non-profit organizations in each community with a goal of raising $10,400 or $1 for every metre run during the meet. Half the funds raised will go to Food for Lane County, an organisation in Oregon dedicated to reducing hunger by engaging the community to create access to food. Half the funds raised will go to Atlanta Mission, a community united to end homelessness.



Pro middle-distance racing on US east coast set for August return in Nashville

15:00 - 15 June
The Nashville Track Club will be hosting the 18th Music City Distance Carnival in Nashville, Tennessee, on 15 August.

The meet, which has been a staple for profession and elite high school middle distance from the US for more than a decade, will be held in according to restrictions on mass gatherings as currently in place by the state of Tennessee. That means that the number of competitors in each race will be limited and will be spectator-free. The latter means that the location of the event will not be publicised in advance. Organisers also announced that all participating athletes and officials will have to have tested negative for Covid-19 the week of the race.


Virtual racing continues to evolve with iRace Live 10km

11:00 - 15 June
With no sign of proper road racing on the horizon in Britain due to pandemic restrictions, innovative organisers there are to put a rare twist on virtual racing.

Although virtual races have become commonplace, the free-to-enter iRace Live Virtual 10km on 5 July will be different in that all runners will start at the same time from their own start lines and the race can be followed live on an online leaderboard. The live element is possible for those who track themselves using a phone app, while runners may opt to use a GPS watch and upload their times afterwards. Visit inspireraces.co.uk/irace for entry.

Athletics Weekly has more.




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