As the end of the year approaches, both the festive and the awards seasons are upon us. The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year, the Ballon d’Or and of course BBC’s ever contentious SPOTY are debated, cogitated and digested more so than Christmas dinner itself.
We at runABC are no different and it’s our turn to recognise the achievements and achievers of the running year. All completely unofficial of course, completely open to debate and completely open to ridicule, if you are so inclined.
MOMENT OF THE YEAR
Yes, it will not be officially ratified as the world record. Yes, every technological trick in the book was used from pacing to spring-heeled footwear to wind shielding. But Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-two hour marathon at the tailor-made INEOS Challenge in Vienna on Saturday 12 October will go down in running history as the sport’s equivalent of the moon landing.
DAMP SQUIB OF THE YEAR
The World Athletics Championships in Doha always had the potential to fall flat. Qatar is a country with limited indigenous sporting pedigree and culture. What is does have is lots of money. Let’s not pretend that’s not the reason why the World Athletics Championships and the 2022 World Cup were awarded to the tiny Arabian state. Tiny crowds were one thing, but the humidity and heat for the women’s marathon were borderline inhumane.
15 years old and now into its six millionth participant. Can it really be anyone else but parkrun? A running phenomenon, its growth continues year on year, progressing from cult gathering to a hardcore of enthusiasts onwards to a weekly national ritual.
UNDER-RATED PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Joint winners of this one…and blame that man Eliud Kipchoge (see above). But there were two truly remarkable performances at this year’s Berlin Marathon. Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, a multiple global champion on the track, clocked 2:01:41, just two seconds shy of the official world record set the previous year by erm, you can guess the rest. There was another landmark performance in women’s marathon running as Kenya's Brigid Kosgei broke Paula Radcliffe’s 16 year old world record, running 2:14:04 in Chicago. Incredible.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR
One of the highlights of London Marathon 2019 was the performance of Callum Hawkins. Hawkins's 2.08.14 took a minute of the 34-year old Scottish marathon record and helped erase memories of his collapse a mile from the finish at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Marathon the year ago before. The future beckons for this brave Scot.