If you need any running motivation and inspiration over the next few months then a few key events and races are going the extra 6.2, 13.1 and 26.2 miles for you.
The Vitality Big Half 2020
All-time distance running greats Sir Mo Farah and Kenenisa Bekele are expected to line up against each other at The Vitality Big Half 2020, on Sunday 1 March.
For Farah, this half marathon race is part of his journey towards Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where he will be competing on the track in the 10,000m. While Bekele looks ahead to the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, on Sunday 26 April, where he will go head-to-head to Eliud Kipchoge.
Farah (British, 36 years old), has won the past two editions of The Vitality Big Half, as well as winning gold for both the 5,000m and 10,000m at the past two Olympics and has six world titles from 2011-2017 across the two distances.
Bekele (Ethiopian, 37 years old), is the world record holder for both the 5,000m and 10,000m and has 17 world titles to his name. He also finished just two seconds off the marathon world record five months ago at the 2019 BMW Berlin Marathon.
The Vitality Big Half also brings strong domestic competition for both men and women as it incorporates the British Athletics Half Marathon Championships and will be the official trial race for the World Half Marathon Championships in Poland on 29 March.
Virgin Money London Marathon 2020
Sunday 26 April, marks the 40th edition of the London Marathon – the race was first held on 29 March 1981.
For running geeks: 20 April 2020, marks the 124th B.A.A. Boston Marathon, with 75 elite athletes due to compete.
The Virgin Money London Marathon 2020, men’s elite race is set to include the two fastest marathon runners of all time, world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Bekele. With these two athletes going head-to-head, the race will be epic.
Kipchoge (Kenyan, 35 years old) became the first man to run a sub two-hour marathon at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge last year, he is the Olympic champion, four-time Virgin Money London Marathon winner and the official world record holder for 26.2 miles.
This year’s elite women’s race is dominated by Kenyan athletes, world record holder and defending champion Brigid Kosgei (Kosgei broke Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old marathon world record at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last October, winning in 2:14:04), 2018 champion Vivian Cheruiyot and world champion Ruth Chepngetich.
It will be interesting to see if elite women’s Ethiopian athletes Roza Dereje, Degitu Azimeraw, Ashete Bekere and Alemu Megertu, can challenge Kenya’s dominance for a top three position.
Further, elite women’s British athletes competing for Olympic marathon places at the Virgin Money London Marathon include four of the UK’s all-time top 10 female marathoners – Jess Piasecki, Charlotte Purdue, Steph Twell and Steph Davis all ran inside the qualifying time of 2:29:30 in 2019.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (and Dock2Dock)
Aside from athletics, the competition I am most looking forward to at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is the 10km open-water marathon swim at the Odaiba Marine Park.
I’ve been fascinated by the tactics of open water swimming for a few years – a sport that’s far less genteel than athletics, with the thrill and excitement of elbows and kicking and threshing about in the water (okay, sometimes this may happen in cross country).
I can’t imagine a runner trying to overtake the competition by running on top of them, pulling their legs or kicking them in the face – all of which seem commonplace in open-water swimming. I’ve wondered if such tactics are due to many swimmers lack of experience and poor eyesight, but figure it’s best to focus one’s efforts on a quick start and strong finish, than to overthink the mayhem of unsanctioned pack swimming.
In addition to a few other events this year, I am due to swim the 5km distance at Dock2Dock 2020, in London’s Royal Victoria Dock. However, FOMO is now creeping in for the 10km.
What events and races are motivating and inspiring you this year?