If you thought the end of the track season means no more athletics for the rest of the year, you couldn’t be more wrong. Here’s what we’re still excited to see in 2017.
Marathons, marathons, marathons
Three of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors of 2017 have already been ticked off, but we’re in for more treats with the remaining three races shaping into brilliant affairs.
First up is Berlin (24th September), where – as some argue – the best ever field since the 1984 Olympic marathon has been assembled. Three past three winners, Kenenisa Bekele (2016, 2:03:03), Eliud Kipchoge (2015, 2:03:05) and Wilson Kipsang (2013, 2:03:13) will go head to head with only one goal in mind: the world record.
On the women’s side Kenya’s Gladys Cherono and Valary Aiyabei will go up against a strong Ethiopian contingent headed up by Amane Beriso.
Two weeks later the running world’s attention will shift to Chicago (8th October) with world record holder Dennis Kimetto (2:02:57) making his return after being out through injury for a while. He will face the likes of Stanley Biwott (2:03:51), Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa and world champion Abel Kirui. Throw in some Americans with Galen Rupp and Luke Puskedra and we’ve got ourselves a race!
The women’s field is equally impressive with 5000m world record holder Tirunesh Dibaba lining up against former world half marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat, while Jordan Hasay will be flying the flag as the home favourite.
Then, in New York (5th November) Mary Keitany looks the overwhelming favourite. The Kenyan set a women-only marathon world record in London in April and could take her fourth consecutive crown in NYC. She will be joined by compatriot and two-time marathon world champion Edna Kiplagat, who won silver at this year’s world champs, with Mare Dibaba and former London champion Tigist Tufa the top Ethiopian names.
In the men’s race, world cross country and world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamwror will be running his first full marathon since his last outing in the Big Apple two years ago. In March, training partner Kipchoge handed down his spikes to the 24-year-old; now he’s given Kamworor his Nike Breaking2 trainers from May for the marathon. A sign? Kamworor will be joined by defending NYC champion and 2015 world champ Ghirmay Gebreslassie and two-time Boston champ Lelise Desisa.
Bring on the mud, sweat and tears
We already were treated to some brilliant cross country action at the start of 2017 and especially the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala provided all sorts of entertainment, but with the return of autumn, cross country is also back.
On an international level, the IAAF Cross Country Permit Series starts off on 13th November in Burgos, Spain, while we can also look forward to the return of the European Cross Country Permit Series.
The latter comes to a conclusion at the European Cross Country Championships in Samorin, Slovakia on 10th December. Cue: it’s going to be cold. Last year especially the U20 races impressed with Konstanze Klosterhalfen and Jakob Ingebrigtsen dominating their fields. Both went on to have remarkable track seasons in 2017. And for the first time in the event’s history, spectators will have a chance to follow in the footsteps of the elites as a mass participation race will take place as part of the programme.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, high school and collegiate XC is back. The magic that is NCAAs will its national champs take place on 18th November in Louisville, Kentucky. Last year Villanova’s Patrick Tiernan caused upset when he defeated overwhelming favourite Edward Cheserek.
While we’re at it, you also don’t want to miss CITIUS’ selection of legendary XC portraits.
And the [insert name of award here] goes to…
Yes, we do love award season. As do most athletes. And who can blame them? When you spend most of your life in lycra and trainers, pulling the ol’ tux out of the closet is a welcome change. Same goes for the women, who all like to throw on some fancy gowns for the season’s hottest parties.
Most of the national and area federations will be throwing various bashes to celebrate their top athletes of 2017.
The big one, the IAAF Athletics Awards, will take place on 24th November as a celebration of this year’s greatest athletes on the track, in the field, on the road and other terrains.
With the big man, Usain Bolt, retiring there’ll surely be the odd tear shed, but we’re already super excited to find out which athletes have made the long list in this year’s awards. Keep your eyes peeled, we won't have to wait for too much longer for the nominations to be revealed.