Stanley Biwott Mary Keitany ()Stanley Biwott Mary Keitany () © Copyright

Still to come in 2016

Though the track season is over, there is still plenty of athletics to come in 2016. This is what to keep your eyes peeled for over the coming months.

Marathon majors

The autumn programme of road races is already well under way, and things are about to get serious as three major pillars on the marathon circuit come into focus.

First up is Berlin (25th September), which throughout history has been the site of ten world records (seven men’s, three women’s). This year, the men’s race welcomes back former world record holder Wilson Kipsang and 5k/10k track world record holder Kenenisa Bekele.

The current marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto will run in Chicago (9th October), a race he last won in 2013 with an American all-comers record 2:03:45. Women’s half marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat will attempt to defend her title in the women’s race.

Then the iconic New York City Marathon (6th November) will see defending champions Stanley Biwott and Mary Keitany (main image) attempt to lead a Kenyan double for the fourth consecutive year.

Florence Kiplagat ()

Thumbs up from Florence Kiplagat

Ekiden mania

The long distance runner is less lonely in Japan, where road racing is all about the team in the series of hugely popular ekiden relays.

These road race relays vary in length, but the principal in each is the same: each team member has a leg to run, the first team home wins. A cloth sash known as a tasuki plays the role of a baton.

National championships, including collegiate and corporate races, take place through December and January. Among the highlights is the Hakone Ekiden, a men’s collegiate race round a 200km loop starting and ending in Tokyo. It dates back to 1920 and these days attracts a national TV audience share of 30%.

XC gonna give it to ya

This cross country season is particularly jam-packed. In America, the NCAA circuit is already in full swing. Regional championships are slated to be held on 11th November, with the nationals taking place the following weekend.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the European circuit is geared towards this year’s championships in Chia, Italy, on 11th December. 

Geoffrey Kamworor ()

Since winning the cross country world title in 2015, Geoffrey Kamworor has emerged as a world force on the roads and track

The IAAF permit series of races begins in Burgos, Spain, on November 13th and runs through to 2017. The season will conclude with the World Cross Country Championships in Kampala on 26th March.

They have become a proving ground for the world’s best distance runners: world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor won the 2015 men’s senior race; the women’s junior race at the 2013 edition was won by Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon.

Top of the world

Still to be decided are this year’s World Mountain Running Association World Cup winners. The first of the two major races still to be contested is the International Hochfellnberglauf race in Bergen, Germany, which takes place on 25th September.

The sixth and final world cup race of 2016 will be held on the 1st October in Smarna Gora, Slovenia, and will see the most consistent season-long performers pick up the cup.

Usain Bolt Allyson Felix ()

Olympic heros Allyson Felix and Usain Bolt were the IAAF World Athlete of the Year back in 2012

Eyes on the prizes

Away from the arena of competition, the best athletes in the world will be honoured at various bashes in athletics’ end of year awards. National, continental and collegiate bodies will all roll out the red carpet to recognise their finest performers.

The IAAF will also honour the world’s best, with the winners of the prestigious men’s and women’s World Athlete of the Year prizes due to be revealed at an awards night in December.