The Greatest Marathon Duel of All-Time Is Happening
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1- Kipchoge to face Bekele in 2020 London Marathon 

Following the cancellation of other world major marathons like Boston and New York, the London Marathon announced that it will be happening this fall, on Oct. 4, for elite athletes only.

The race will feature a long-awaited battle between Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia. 

Kipchoge, the current world record holder (2:01:39) is the defending Olympic champion, and has won eight of the nine marathon majors he has entered. Oh, and he ran a marathon in less than two hours in a controlled, unofficial time trial that one time.

Eliud Kipchoge at the INEOS 159 Challenge - Photo: NY Times

Bekele is the world record holder in the 5,000m and 10,000m, is an 11-time world cross-country gold medalist, and is a three-time Olympic champion on the track. Last year in Berlin, he came just two seconds short of Kipchoge’s world marathon record. 

The women’s title is not expected to be as hotly contested - world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya is registered, and she has yet to meet her match in the marathon.

The race will take place on a closed 2km loop around St. James Park. No spectators will be permitted near the course, but the event will be broadcast by BBC Sport. 

2 - The First Big Track Race is on Friday in Monaco

Tim Cheruiyot of Kenya winning the Meeting Herculis 1,500m in 2019. Photo:

The Meeting Herculis in Monaco is set to become the first in-person Diamond League event of 2020.

After experimenting with modified and virtual meets, the international track and field series is preparing for its first of seven in-person events. 

The Meeting Herculis has historically been a hotbed for staggering performances in the distance running events, and this year’s startlists suggest that it will be more of the same.

Jemma Reekie edging out fellow Brit Laura Muir in an 800m earlier this month. The two will compete in a 1,000m in Monaco. Photo:

The mens 1,500m features last year’s champion, Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya, facing off against Norwegian brothers Jakob and Filip Ingebrigtsen. The women’s 1,000m has British star Laura Muir pitted against her compatriot Jemma Reekie. The 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei is racing the 5,000m.

The meet’s 3,000m steeplechase field, however, took a hit - defending Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto pulled out after testing positive for COVID-19. 

3 - Sara Hall runs 6th fastest U.S. half marathon ever in Oregon time trial

Sara Hall of Flagstaff, Arizona, ran 1:08:18 in a socially distanced half marathon along the shore of Dorena Lake in Eugene, Oregon. It was a 40-second personal best, and the sixth-best time ever recorded by an American woman.

The time trial comes six months after Hall dropped out of the U.S. Olympic marathon trials, despite entering as one of the favourites to make Team USA. Her best marathon time of 2:22:16 dates from 2019.

Hall and her husband, U.S. Olympic marathoner turned weightlifter Ryan Hall, have transmitted their love of running to their children - Hall’s two daughters also ran in the race. Twenty-year-old Hana stopped the clock at 1:20, and 16-year-old Mia ran 1:23. 

Sara Hall, 37, is in the best fitness of her life, and waits for regular races to come back. 

4 - On Athletics Club releases new roster

On Athletics Club

 We were a little concerned last week when Swiss running brand On launched its pro running group, On Atheletics Club (OAC), by announcing the name of only one athlete. Was the rest of the roster’s pedigree not worth mentioning? These concerns have been put to rest after the group released the rest of its roster on August 10.

The group, slated to be coached by Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, features six NCAA champions. The women’s side is packed with experience. 2014 NCAA steeple champ and 2015 NCAA mile champ Leah Falland (formerly O’Connor) has signed on, along with nine-time NCAA Division II champ Emily Oren, Alicja Konieczek, who competed for Poland in the steeplechase at the 2019 World Championships, and young gun Alicia Monson who is fresh out of the University of Wisconsin and was a runner up at the 2019 NCAA cross country championships.

Alicia Monson

The men’s side consists of a younger group, but equally talented, all with 1500m personal bests around 3:37. NCAA cross country runner up Joe Klecker was the first athlete to be announced, followed by 2018 NCAA 1500m champ Olli Hoare, 2019 NCAA mile champ Geordie Beamish, and 2019 Pan Am 1500 champion Carlos Villareal.

While all of these athletes are impressive, it’s still a question of whether any of them are talented enough to secure a spot on the 2021 Olympic team.

5. Athletics Canada introduces whistleblower policy

In the wake of distributing lifetime bans to Canadian coaches Dave Scott Thomas from the University of Guelph, and Andy McInnis and Ken Porter from the Ottawa Lions Track Club for accusations of athlete abuse, Athletics Canada has announced that it will be introducing a set of new policies to protect athletes from inappropriate behaviour and encourage whistleblowers to come forward.

Specifically, the new whistleblower policy allows anyone who witnesses wrongdoing to report it to Athletics Canada. Previously, the organization would only acknowledge complaints from the victim. They’re also placing renewed emphasis on the Rule of Two, meaning no athlete should ever be alone with a coach. 

To encourage an open dialogue about the policies, Athletics Canada will host quarterly town hall meetings between athletes and the organization.

While these policies are a step in the right direction, it still leaves one questioning whether they’ll be enough to deter abusive behaviour and how they will be enforced.

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