2016 has been a year of stand out performances. Mo Farah in Birmingham, Laura Muir in London and Usain Bolt on the biggest stage of them all, Rio. But this year the performances of world class athletes have regularly been overshadowed by goings on behind the scenes. Drugs cover up, federal conspiracy, these headlines have understandably hogged the spotlight in 2016, while this year's Diamond League regulation changes have flown under the radar in comparison.
For fans of the sport these rule changes were perhaps as important to the integrity of athletics as keeping the sport clean and for this reason many of us took to our keyboards in the summer in protest. Twitter was ablaze with hashtags like #6jumpsplease, #6throwsplease and #3isnotenough. Encouraged by athletes like Lorraine Ugen, Greg Rutherford and Jazmin Sawyers who were also unhappy with the new format.
Thirteen BASC members took part in Saturdays Coventry parkrun – as part of the BASC Annual Dinner. This is now becoming an annual event itself – with 10 members also taking part last year – and thereby giving a chance to improve our efforts– and achieve a Personal Best (PB)!
This was the 343rd running of the Coventry parkrun itself – and there were 586 runners on a cold and crispy morning. Indeed parts of the course were quite frosty and slippery – and speaking to the runners after the two-lap event, many had run on the grass – rather than the tarmac – which seemed more secure. Even getting to the run was eventful – when the mini-bus had a puncture before it got to us – so we quickly ordered two taxis – and just about made it in time!
It wasn't so long ago that we were glued to our television sets, waiting up until the early hours of the morning to watch the Olympics, but as the winter sets in and our long distance stars trade the track for cross country, Sophie Flynn takes a look back at the British stars who shone in a summer of individual performances.
Laura Muir: I can't get enough of this girl, she is so exciting to watch. Over the summer she literally set the track alight at the London Anniversary games, eventually taking the 1500m Diamond Race title and made it to her very first Olympic final. She will of course be hoping to go one better this coming season. The London World Championships are just around the corner, but until then there will be hours of training, and the odd cross country, starting at the Great Edinburgh International in January.
Steve Howell's first novel, 'Over The Line' is set in the lead up to the Rio Olympic Games. In this interview with BASC, Steve talks about his book, athletics and the doping issue...
What is 'Over The Line' about?
It’s the story of Megan, a 100m hurdler and Olympic poster girl, who comes under suspicion because her troubled friend Matt died after abusing steroids. The police think she's hiding something and reopen the case just weeks before Rio. Megan panics and goes into hiding - only to resurface in her home town of Newport arm-in-arm with Will, a rugby-playing ex-boyfriend who's failed a drugs test.
Megan's coach, Liam, who narrates the story, doesn't know what to think. He wants to believe in her, but she doesn't make it easy for him as he tries to get to the truth.
Why did you decide to write it?
The Olympic athletics schedule gets under way on Friday and there’s plenty of action on offer for British fans over the next ten days. From Laura Muir to Greg Rutherford, the athletes are poised and ready to go, but the question is are you?
Here’s my events and athletes to watch over the coming days;
The action starts around 1.30pm when Jessica Ennis-Hill begins the defence of her heptathlon title in the 100m hurdles. It’s been an unusual outdoor season for Ennis-Hill, who has again been outshone by the performances of her team-mate Katarina Johnson-Thompson. But the expectations are firmly with KJT going into the Olympics, which hasn’t always brought the best out of her in the past. Jess always finds that little bit extra at major champs, but can she deliver again? The heptathlon concludes at 2.53am Sunday (our time).