30th December 2019
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2020: JANUARY-MARCH
It doesn’t get much more exciting than realising that Olympic and Paralympic year is officially here when December 31 makes way for January 1. With the later than usual staging of the World Athletics and World Para Athletics Championships in 2019, it is likely to be a quiet start to the year but there’s still a major event to look out for. We begin our preview of 2020 with a look ahead to January, February and March.
1) The end of January sees the first major international event of 2020 as World Athletics’ Indoor Tour gets under way in Boston in the USA. The British highlight of the Tour will be the Müller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow – world-class athletics returning to Scotland less than 12 months after a record-breaking best 12 medals for the British team at the European Indoor Championships.
The event has already been confirmed as a sell-out with only two athletes confirmed – four-time European indoor gold medallist and home favourite Laura Muir and world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson. Scheduled for February 15 – the same weekend as some of the country’s best up and comers battle at the BUCS Indoor Championships – Glasgow is sure to produce a highlight of the year.
2) Staying in Glasgow, the SPAR British Indoor Championships follow a week later on February 22 and 23 at the same venue – the Emirates Arena – which traditionally serve as the trials for the early season showpiece, the World Indoor Championships set to be held in Nanjing, China in March. Another date for the diary, the British team for those World Indoor Championships is set to be announced on February 25.
3) After back-to-back years of relatively early major indoor championships, the World Indoor Championships returns to the middle of March – 13-15 – as Nanjing in China’s east plays host for the first time. It remains to be seen which British – and global athletes – will trump for China but GB & NI has a rich history at the event with Katarina Johnson-Thompson winning pentathlon gold on home soil at what was an extremely snowy Birmingham in 2018.
4) At the same time as the World Indoor Championships, the first World Para Athletics Grand Prix takes place in Dubai from March 14-17. It would have been four months since the World Para Athletics Championships were held in the same city and there will be just five months to go until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
4) Attention switches to the roads either side of those World Indoor Championships, with the ever popular Vitality Big Half around the streets of London scheduled for March 1. The event once again acts as the British Championships for the 13.1-mile distance and will also carry automatic qualification places for the World Half Marathon Championships in Poland.
5) Yes, the first three months of the year is rounded off with a trip to Poland for the World Half Marathon Championships. The coastal port city of Gdynia will close its roads for the best half marathoners on March 29, which could be a key marker for those looking to qualify over the full marathon distance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and possibly those with track ambitions too.