It might not be the year we want to remember, but 2020 is one year we shall never forget. The Coronavirus pandemic devastated Athletics and perhaps understandably so; the virus caught the world unaware. Olympics games postponement was the biggest dissapointment not to mention other races that were either canceled or put forward.
Another spectacle that dominated the year was the rival between Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele during the Virgin London marathon. Surprisingly, neither of them cut the tape in the 40th edition of the London marathon. Bekele was injured whereas Kipchoge developed a hitch midway in the race.
Surprisingly the obliteration of the world records last year was unprecedented. Beginning from January Kenyan superstar Rhonex Kipruto erased a 10km world record after clocking a massive 26:24 at 10km Valencia Ibercaja. In February Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia broke world records for 5km and Half marathon respectively. Cheptegei clock 12:51 in Monaco while Ababel 1:04:31 was achieved in Ras Al Khaimah.
Joshua Cheptegei was at it again in August, this time around on the track. Cheptegei lowered Kenenisa Bekele's previous mark of 12:37:35 to 12:35:36 at Monaco diamond league, the record had stood for sixteen years. Coincidentally both Cheptetegei records of 5km on the road and 5000m on the track were achieved in Monaco.
Brussels diamond league in September was equally another opportunity for world records. Mo Farah of Britain and Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands broke a one-hour world record for both men and women respectively. Farah covered 21330m in an hour while Sifan stopped the clock in 18930m.
NN world record day in Valencia lived to its expectation. For the third time in the year, the god of the records yet again visited Cheptegei for the third time, he ran scintillating 26:11:00 in 10,000m to lower the previous mark of 26:17:53 held by Kenenisa Bekele. At the same meet, Letesenbet Gideyof Ethiopia shattered the 5000m world in a time of 14:06:62. The old record was held by her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba.
The only championship event in the year was the world half marathon championship. The world record was not spared either, Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya not only won the gold medal in the championships but also obliterated the women-only world record. Jepchirchir defied the pandemic to better her own world record to 1:05:16. She had registered 1:05:34 in the Prague half marathon earlier.
The last record to bow down is men's half marathon. Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya won the Valencia half marathon in a world record time of 57:32 beating Geoffry Kamworor's previous mark by almost 30 seconds. The record strongly affirmed that Valencia is indeed the City of records, four of the ten world records last year were broken in Valencia.
In what would have been the eleventh world record of the year, Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia failed to break the 5km world record on the eve of the new year in Barcelona. Genzebe won the Cursa dels Nassos road race in the Spanish city in a world lead time of 15:00. The world record is held by Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands in 14:48.
The year had its pros and cons, While the global pandemic caused desolation in Athletics, world records punctuated the year with a success story to write about. Hopefully 2021 will bring more good than bad in matters Athletics.