Day 330: 31 January

By Ciara Mageean

I can remember sitting in the cafe in Dublin, in tears, looking across at my old coach Jerry Kiernan. I was 20 at the time, and facing surgery on a bone spur in my ankle that had plagued me for the previous year.

I’d been told there was an 80-85% chance it would make the pain go away. That meant there was a 15-20% chance it wouldn’t. The latter was a terrifying prospect.  

What am I going to be if I’m not The Runner?

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Day 329: 30 January

Nina Kennedy’s historic pole vault triumph at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest last August has earned her the Bruce McAvaney Award for the Performance of the Year at the Athletics Australia Awards.

Announced with one month to go until the Chemist Warehouse Summer Series begins with the Adelaide Invitational (February 10), Kennedy earned the top gong after her memorable performance in Budapest saw her share the global crown with Olympic champion Katie Moon (USA).

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Day 328: 29 January

Two-time European Athlete of the Year Femke Bol was crowned 2023 Dutch Sportswoman of the Year at the Dutch Sports Gala on Wednesday (20).

Bol has amassed another superlative season which included breaking the seemingly untouchable world indoor 400m record of 49.26 followed by two gold medals at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul and two gold medals at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

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Day 327: 28 January

'Exploring Coaching' podcast series with Vicky Huyton and Lilly-Ann O’Hora.

Vickie Croley is a Canadian track and field coach based in Ontario. Vickie's CV is huge and her experience and achievements need a podcast all of their own! She is head track and field coach at the University of Western Ontario, has coached some of Canada’s top high-performance athletes, including multiple Olympic medallist Damian Warner and most recently Caroline Ehrhardt, who set a new Canadian women’s triple jump record in May 2023. Vickie has also been an international team coach on many occasions for Team Canada, has won multiple Coach of the Year awards, donates her time as a Director on the Board of the London Western Track and Field Club and has contributed to the Athletics Canada Gender Equity Plan.


This podcast was a real deep dive into Vickie's experience as a coach, her coaching philosophies and her thoughts on bringing more female coaches into the high performance arena. Vickie shared some of her best tips for coaching in high performance: "Have a strong support system in place, know that it's ok to take a break, don't feel guilty, let go of your ego."

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 326: 27 January

Congratulations to the NACAC Gender Leadership Commission who held a Gender Leadership Moderator training from 11-15 January. They had 10 participants from various countries. 

The training was intensive and the days long but productive, with the participants being actively involved in healthy discussion from the beginning through to the end. The highlight of the training was the group presentations on the final day which were well done and based on their learnings. 

Some comments from the participants: "I would recommend the course as it is needed for anyone in leadership positions and those aspiring to be a leader."

"All of the facilitators knew the course and delivered it in a manner that was easy to understand."

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 325: 26 January

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Day 324: 25 January

Despite all she had achieved in athletics – world titles, Olympic gold medals – Faith Kipyegon still felt there was a ‘but’.

The Kenyan middle-distance star started 2023 determined to remove that word from any assessment of her superb CV. Focused, but also with an eye on the bigger picture, Kipyegon achieved her aim in phenomenal fashion, breaking not just one world record, but three, and adding two more world titles to her haul.

“I was working hard to get the world record over 1500m because I have history from the youth category to the senior category (in the discipline) with medals, but not a world record,” said the 29-year-old.

“If you do something and somebody is like: ‘She is world champion, she is Olympic champion, she is world junior champion… but… BUT!.. she doesn’t have a world record.’

“I wanted to remove this ‘but’; to have the world record in the 1500m and complete my historical journey in the 1500m. It’s something special.”

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Day 323: 24 January


Kenya's Agnes Ngetich obliterated the women's world 10km record by running 28:46* at the 10K Valencia Ibercaja, a World Athletics Label road race.

The 22-year-old became the first woman to break 29 minutes for the distance, improving by 28 seconds the previous road mixed race world record set by Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw in Castellon two years ago. Emmaculate Anyango also dipped under 29 minutes in Valencia, clocking 28:57 to finish runner-up to her compatriot.

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Day 322: 23 January

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Day 321: 22 January

As the 19 surviving entrants moved on from the field to the track in Santiago’s Estadio Nacional for the final event of the heptathlon at the 2000 World U20 Championships, Barbora Spotakova occupied one of the podium positions. 

A mighty javelin throw of 54.15m had propelled the teenage Czech multi-eventer into third spot – behind one Carolina Kluft of Sweden and Russia’s Lidiya Bashlykova-Nokrhina.

With just seven points to spare, young ‘Bara’ – as she was known to her teammates, family and friends – could not afford to let Sanna Saarman get ahead of her in the 800m if she was to collect the bronze medal. Sadly, it was not to be.

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Day 320: 21 January

Athletics Australia President Jane Flemming feels the sport in her home country is poised for an exciting decade ahead.

Last month Athletics Australia won the Member Federation Award as part of the World Athletics Awards 2023. The award recognises a member federation that has positively contributed to the growth and profile of the sport, and Flemming feels Australia has done exactly that in recent years.

“The World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst was very successful, even if we had some very tempestuous weather for that event,” said Flemming. “We also had a wonderful (Continental Tour) Gold meet come back to Australia for the first time in a number of years, which was really successful and had a sell-out crowd.

“We have a new junior programme about to be launched and that also has the backing of World Athletics,” added Flemming. “We’re committed to boosting our sport, nurturing talent and fostering a vibrant athletics community for generations to come to really shift the dial with regard to the health, fitness and wellness of our nation, and the door is open to those who want to contribute to this movement.”

Flemming, 58, is equally comfortable in a boardroom or a championship call room.

She won gold in the heptathlon and long jump at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games and finished seventh in the heptathlon at both the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart. She still holds the Oceania heptathlon record of 6695.

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Day 319: 20 January

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Day 318: 19 January

Technical official Tanja Vetter from Paraguay talks about her amazing journey.

First and foremost, I would like to thank World Athletics for all the opportunities it has given me over these last two years. The ODESUR Games coming to Paraguay have literally changed my life and opened a door I didn't even know was there. I am Tanja Vetter, I live in Filadelfia, Chaco Region, Paraguay in the heart of South America. I was born in Asunción but moved to Filadelfia 15 years ago with my husband and now two sons.

I am an athletics enthusiast that came back to the sport in 2017 to be an example for my kids and ended up helping an athletics coach training teenagers. Last year Paraguay was the host of the ODESUR Games, and with this I was offered the opportunity to take part of the NTO (NAR)course and certification in July 2022. Until then, being an athletics official hadn’t even crossed my mind. In October 2022 came my first official competition, as a NTO in the ODESUR Games. I was the Recorder Judge for the High Jump and the Pole Vault. I just simply fell in love with the job, it was even more thrilling than competing myself.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 317: 18 January

Book review by Vicky Huyton.

Survive and Advance
by Tianna Bartoletta.

I really struggled to write this book review, because writing a review on Tianna's memoir Survive and Advance felt at times like writing a review about her life. With Tianna's raw and brutal narrative of her experience as a Pro athlete and life with a seriously abusive ex-husband, Survive and Advance is one of the most candid and honest autobiographies I have ever read. As the title suggests, it is literally a story of survival, and thankfully, as it was published in 2021 and I have been following Tianna's story ever since, I know she advances and is now thriving with a beautiful baby boy and a coaching career.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 316: 17 January

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Day 315: 16 January

Ethiopia’s world 10,000m silver medallist Letesenbet Gidey has been named winner of the International Fair Play Award as part of the World Athletics Awards 2023.

Following nominations from fans, members of the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP) and World Athletics formed a jury to decide on a shortlist of fair play moments. Fans were then asked to vote via World Athletics’ social media platforms for the moment that they felt best exemplified fair play.

Those social media scores were combined with jury votes to determine three finalists, before Gidey was selected as the winner.

Gidey’s fair play moment occurred at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23. After securing silver in the women’s 10,000m, Gidey went back to comfort Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan after Hassan’s dramatic fall on the home straight.

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Day 314: 15 January

For the athlete that Faith Kipyegon calls “small Faith”, it has been a very big year.

At the age of 19, Faith Cherotich – the rising talent who has recently been mentored by the multiple world and Olympic champion Kipyegon – is a senior world medallist in the 3000m steeplechase and reigning world U20 champion.

She is also the women’s World Athletics Rising Star awardee for 2023.

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Day 313: 14 January

Congratulations to Janie Frampton who received an OBE in the King's New Year Honours (UK) for Services to Equality for Women in Sport. This was awarded for projects across a range of sports, athletics being one.

Janie was responsible for creating the World Athletics Gender Leadership Course material and regularly teaches Moderator and train the trainer courses.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 312: 13 January

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Day 311: 12 January

By Janee’ Kassanavoid

My Dad taught me many lessons in life, but two stood out above all.

The first: don’t give up.

The second: always strive for perfection.

We’d play catch when I was a kid, and if you didn’t correctly pass it, right to where he was, you’d have to go run to get it. Being the youngest of four siblings, there was no concession made for my youth, and I was disciplined just the same as the others.

Yeah, it was tough, it was harsh. But in the end, it made me better.

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Day 310: 11 January

Five months on from the false-start to her marathon career in New York, there was to be no denying Hellen Obiri on the rollercoaster ride from Hopkinton to Boston.

The woman for all-seasons – the only woman in history to have won world titles on the track indoors and out and at cross country – got it right on her second shot at the 26.2-mile distance in the 2023 edition of the grand old marathon in Massachusetts.

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Day 309: 10 January

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Day 308: 9 January

As the World Athletics Awards 2023 draws near, we’re shining a spotlight on the 10 finalists – five men and five women – for the World Athlete of the Year awards.

Today the focus is on Kenyan middle-distance runner Faith Kipyegon.

Faith Kipyegon started 2023 as one of the most decorated middle-distance runners in history.

She ended the year with even more global gold – and a clutch of world records to her name.

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Day 307: 8 January

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Day 306: 7 January

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Day 305: 6 January

Falilatou Tchanile-Salifou has been named Woman of the Year as part of the World Athletics Awards 2023.

Tchanile-Salifou receives the honour in recognition of her dedication to advancing women's rights and fostering gender equality in sport. As President of the Togolese athletics federation, Tchanile-Salifou has demonstrated outstanding leadership and unwavering commitment, with a series of transformative initiatives throughout 2023 that have left a lasting impact on Togo's sports landscape.

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Day 304: 5 January

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Day 303: 4 January

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Day 302: 3 January

This month we are showcasing the achievements of coach Siria Carmina Mata Plascencia, from Mexico.

Coaching is often described as the universal language of change and learning, something that Siria is most certainly fluent in! Siria has a very strong academic background that enhances her coaching, and can be categorized as a philomath, a lover of learning and studying. With an undergraduate degree in Physical Culture and Sports, followed by a Master's degree in Child Motor Development and now a PhD in Education, she is a ‘pracademic’. She is a technical pedagogical advisor for Physical Education teachers, whilst also an athletics coach for the state government and a teacher at a university at the graduate level.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 301: 2 January

As the World Athletics Awards 2023 draws near, we’re shining a spotlight on the 10 finalists – five men and five women – for the World Athlete of the Year awards.

Today the focus is on Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas.

Yulimar Rojas continued her reign as the queen of the triple jump in 2023. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Venezuelan superstar, but she further proved her class by overcoming a setback on the biggest stage of the year to win her fourth successive world title.

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Day 300: 1 January

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