News31 Mar 2020

The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus - 29-31 March


Solitary runner in Paris (© Getty Images)

Welcome to The New Normal: life in the time of coronavirus, where we'll be sharing stories and updates about how athletes are adjusting to and coping with the spread of COVID-19. We'll be providing updates regularly and daily and encourage athletes to get in touch so we can share their stories, too.

Previous updates:
20-22 March
23-25 March
26-28 March

Updates by Jon Mulkeen and Bob Ramsak

Tuesday 31 March


Morris taking matters into her own hands... and feet

23:30 - 31 March
With her training options now extremely limited, world indoor champion Sandi Morris set about making her own neighbourhood pole vault pit.

It's still early days, though, and she is yet to master the art of a sledgehammer...


Campbell's garden marathon

22:20 - 31 March
It started as a simple tweet, but it soon took on a life of its own.

"10,000 retweets & I’ll run a marathon in my back garden," tweeted former British javelin champion James Campbell. "It’s about 6 metres long."

James Campbell's garden

Five hours later, Campbell's post had surpassed 10,000 retweets (and, at the time of this post, has now been retweeted almost 23,000 times).

Campbell, who holds the Scottish javelin record at 80.38m and has competed at various international championships, has stayed true to his word and will embark on his garden marathon on Wednesday 1 April - which also happens to be his birthday.

He tweeted a follow-up video to explain that he'll do it to help raise funds for Britain's National Health Service. There will also be a live stream of his run, which he has named the #6metregardenmarathon


No rest for Banks in lockdown

18:40 - 31 March
Former triple jump world record-holder Willie Banks has found ways of filling his time while being stuck at home.

Willie Banks

The World Athletics Council member has focused on raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And when he's not doing that, he's most likely doing a bit of zumba in his living room.

"One thing that has helped me through this scare is volunteering and giving back to the community," he told the Times of San Diego. "I have dedicated a part of this time to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I have been asked to join a group of San Diegans to help raise money through a program called Man and Woman of the Year.

"I try to keep active at home. I cleared a place in the family room so that my wife and I can do our workout. I love to do Zumba, so I do my class several times each week along with walking the neighborhood."


RIP Jordan Pearson, 1950-2020

13:40 - 31 March
Former sprinter Pearson Jordan, who represented Barbados in the 100m and 4x100m at the 1976 Olympic Games, has died from coronavirus at the age of 69.

It is believed he could be the first Olympian to die from COVID-19.


Time for Thiam

13:30 - 31 March
Olympic heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam was relieved to hear that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics would be postponed a year.

Having battled a persistent elbow injury in recent years, the extra time will allow her niggles to fully heal before the defence of her Olympic title next year.

Nafi Thiam

"There is now even more time for this elbow," she told "I have no more excuses not to go to Tokyo with a perfect technique for throwing the javelin beyond 60 metres."



Monday 30 March


World Athletics statement on 2021 dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

14:30 - 30 March
The IOC, IPC, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced that the postponed 2020 Games will take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021.

The World Athletics statement on the new dates:

We support the new 2021 dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games announced today by the Japanese organisers and the IOC. This gives our athletes the time they need to get back into training and competition.

Everyone needs to be flexible and compromise and to that end we are now working with the organisers of the World Athletics Championships in Oregon on new dates in 2022 for our World Athletics Championships. We are also in discussions with the Commonwealth Games Federation and the European Championships. We would like to thank our Oregon 21 Organising Committee, their stakeholders and our partners for their collaboration and willingness to explore all options.


Need some Monday motivation?

14:00 - 30 March
Fear not, Valerie Adams is here for you. The four-time world and two-time Olympic shot put champion's lockdown tip for the week: 'Find a routine, and keep to it.'


German government pledges continued athlete support

12:50 - 30 March
Via DLV, some reassuring news for some German athletes.

Der Spiegel reports that the German government will continue programmes that support many elite athletes - which means continued monthly paychecks during a period when competitive opportunities have dried up. That includes athletes who are sponsored and employed by the Police, Customs and Federal Armed Forces.

The German Sports Aid Foundation has also pledged to continue their financial support to about 4000 elite athletes in different sports. In a statement, the foundation said that funding will continue unchanged for the currently approved period and that in some individual cases flexible arrangements will be made to make up for earnings lost due to event cancellations.


Tuliamuk issues an important reminder to runners: 'Run alone'

12:15 - 30 March
It's more a plea than a reminder from Aliphine Tuliamuk, the winner of last month's US Olympic trials marathon race in Atlanta, who doesn't want to lose the privilege of running outside because some runners can't follow rules.

Taking to Twitter, she pleaded:


Want to beat the indoor virus blues? Create for Lockdown Live.

10:00 - 30 March
World Athletics commentator Rob Walker has put out the call for people to submit video clips of themselves engaged in sport - in whatever form that means to you these days - which he'll then add commentary to.

The programme's name? Lockdown Live, which debuted on YouTube on Friday. Walker's concept is simple: "To put smiles on faces and to remind us that the world of sport is all around us. Sometimes in the most bizarre forms." Here's Rob's call:

And here is the first episode:

He's also posting shorter clips on Instagram @lockdownlive2020 and on Twitter.


Kawauchi's exercise guidelines - country by country

09:30 - 30 March
Yuki Kawauchi, the 2018 Boston Marathon winner, has chiseled together this list of exercise guidelines that have been put in place in several countries, updated as of 29 March.

It's very important to note however that guidelines and restrictions are changing on a daily, even hourly, basis. So it's always best to first contact local authorities with any questions or concerns.


Sunday 29 March


Gebrselassie donates nearly $50,000 to national campaign fighting the spread of coronavirus

19:15 - 29 March
On Wednesday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched the Covid-19 National Resource Mobilisation Committee to help fight the spread of coronavirus in the east African nation. Today, the BBC reports, distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie contributed nearly US$ 50,000 to the committee.

Gebrselassie said:

"It's not time to profit but to save lives. We need to support the government at this crucial time and support one another."

"This is a very different time we are win. Everything's locked down and sporting events have been cancelled all over the world, so we have to be able to support our community."

The committee is gathering funds and materials to assist with emergency preparation to fight the pandemic in the country of 105 million Africa's second most populous.

Read the rest.


McDaniel, youth track club founder and coach, dies from Coronavirus

14:35 - 29 March
The athletics community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas is mourning the loss of Orlando McDaniel, who died on Friday (27) due to complications from COVID-19.

McDaniel, 59, was the head coach of the North Texas Cheetahs, or NTC Elite, a youth athletics club he founded in 2003. reports that McDaniel fell ill after traveling to Washington DC earlier in the month to visit a family member.

McDaniel was a standout hurdler during his college days at Louisiana State University. In 1980, he won the Southeastern Conference 110m hurdles title and finished second at the NCAA championships. He later played one season as a wide receiver with the Denver Broncos in the NFL.

LSU head coach Dennis Shaver told that McDaniel was "among the most prominent youth track coaches in the country and mentored hundreds of athletes and other coaches".

"He was such a tremendous athlete in both sports, but the love he had for track and field was really special," Shaver said. "We're fortunate that people like him get involved with our youth.

"He was one of the most important people in our sport. He had to persuade youth to spend their summers doing something productive. Orlando had essentially dedicated his life to it. They'd come to summer meets and have two busloads full of people. It was a real impressive group of people. He's sorely going to be missed."


Local TV station CBS 11 produced this report on the impact McDaniel had on his his community.


Sum: 'Priority now is for the world to be healthy again and virus free'

14:00 - 29 March
In a story posted Athletics Weekly on Friday, Kenya's Eunice Sum, the 2013 world 800m champion, discusses life at home in Eldoret as public safety restrictions imposed to help stem the spread of the coronavirus continue to limit what athletes can and can't do.

“I am able to train but I cannot do any speed work on the track because all the stadiums are closed. So what I do is run on the road and try to do some pace variations on the road. I don’t have my training mates with me, I’m just training alone.

“Staying motivated is a little bit difficult but I tell myself I must continue training because I don’t know what is going to come out of all this."


“If the Diamond Leagues were postponed to autumn or even December that would be okay for me but the priority now is for the world to be healthy again and virus free.”

Read the rest.


Rutherford on Super Saturday re-runs: 'This is bringing back some incredible memories

13:00 - 29 March
With no live action at their disposal, TV networks around the world are re-living and re-telling key historical sporting moments - much like our World Athletics Watch Parties.

Last night, Eurosport re-ran 'Super Saturday' from the 2012 Olympic Games in London, an evening when Greg Rutherford, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah rocked the Olympic Stadium with their gold medal-winning performances in quick succession.

Rutherford, the long jump winner, was among the spectators.


Looking back to Valencia 2018

11:50 - 29 March
Just a few short months ago, the athletics world was eagerly preparing to converge upon Gdynia, Poland, for the World Half Marathon Championships, races that were set for today.

The spread of the new Coronavirus changed all that, wiping clean most of the spring (and southern winter) competition calendar. Those championships have been rescheduled for 17 October.

While it's impossible to know what might have transpired along the Baltic coast this morning, a look back at the thrilling 2018 edition in Valencia could provide some clues into what was in store - and what we can look forward to seven months from now.

In the women's race Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia clocked 1:06:11 to claim the title, shattering the world record for a women-only race. And in the men's contest, Kenyan star Geoffrey Kamworor romped to a third successive triumph.

Here's a clip of the final moments of Gudeta's sensational run, with Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences complex serving as the stunning backdrop.


Quirot making masks for family, neighbors and friends

10:30 - 29 March
Two-time world 800m champion Ana Quirot retired from competition in 1998, but is still staying ahead of her opponents. In this case, the Coronavirus.

Quirot and her husband were visiting friends in Torino, Italy, last month when the first signs of the virus began to emerge there. She immediately decided to return home, and traveled via Madrid, where she also spent a few days. The virus hit there as well - three days later she was home, in self-isolation, before staying home became public policy.

"They hadn't talked about quarantine or isolation here, but I imposed it on myself," she said.

Now she's using some of that time to sew face masks for family, friends and neighbors - anyone who might need one.

More in DeporCuba.


In Kenya, a dire outlook as financial repercussions of postponements take shape

10:05 - 29 March
Like employees in others industries, athletes, their coaches, managers, and others who form their support teams will also take a very hard hit financially as the postponements and cancellations of events this year continue due to the spread of the new Coronavirus.

Here is a survey of some Kenyan athletes who talk about what the growing list of postponements has, or will mean, for them. While many of the figures cited can't be confirmed, the picture painted is bleak.



Previous updates:
The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus 20-22 March
The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus 23-25 March
The New Normal: Life in the time of coronavirus 26-28 March