Who Will Be The IAAF Women's Athlete Of The Year?

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Last week, we dissected the men’s field for the IAAF Athlete of the Year. Today, I’ll run through the final 11 for the women’s award. It’s a competitive group, with at least four with a compelling cases to win. Here are the nominees:

Beatrice Chepkoech, Kenya: Steeplechase

Chepkoech dominated her event, losing only one race all year and winning the Diamond League and World Championships titles. Her fastest mark of the season was the 5th quickest in history (8:55.58), but 11 seconds off her own world record in the event. Competing against yourself in this instance is close to impossible and in retrospect, Chepkoech’s 2018 should have deserved more consideration.  

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica: Sprints

Fraser-Pryce had one of the best seasons of her career, and did it two years after giving birth. Her 10.71 at the World Championships was the best time of the year and the perfect end to a season where she broke 10.80 on four occasions. She did lose three times in the 100m, once at the Jamaican Championships in Kingston, a puzzling 8th-place finish at the Prefontaine Classic and runner-up at the Diamond League final in Brussels. 

Malaika Mihambo, Germany: Long Jump

Probably the most underrated of all the finalists, Mihambo was undefeated outdoors, winning all 10 of her competitions including the Diamond League and the World Championships. Her best jump, 7.30m, came at the biggest meet of the year in Doha--a mark only three women have bettered in the 2000s. 

Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Great Britain:  Multi-events

Multi-event athletes share similar traits to marathon runners. They compete sparingly at their event and their margin for error is basically zero when it comes to these awards. KJT did all she could in 2019. She took gold in the European indoor pentathlon. She won in Gotzis. And she defeated Nafi Thiam to become world champion in Doha. Her score of 6981 broke the British record and put her behind only five women on the all-time list.  

Sifan Hassan, Netherlands: Distance

Where to begin…..she pulled off the Sifanathon in Doha, dominating both the 1500m and 10,000m. She only attempted those two races because of a quirk in the schedule, but I think it helped strengthen her case for an award like this. 

Her 3:59 split in the final 1500m of the 10,000m and her front-running 3:51 to destroy the field in the 1500m added some panache. These weren’t regular wins and this wasn’t a regular double. There’s a reason nobody has done it before. 

She also won Diamond League titles in the 15000m and 5000m and broke the world record in the mile. If a world record isn’t in your top list of accomplishments, you’ve had a good year. She did lose, so if you're going to make the case against Hassan you can point out three early season defeats in the 1500m as well as two losses in the 5000m. To me, those are drowned out by what she did later in the season, not to mention running 8:18 in the 3000m and putting up a 65-minute half marathon. 

Brigid Kosgei, Kenya: Marathon/Half Marathon 

Kosgei most recently set the women’s world record on fire in Chicago, running 2:14:04 and maybe/kind of/possibly taking some of the attention away from Eliud Kipchoge on a weekend where he ran 1:59:40. That alone is worthy of the award. 

Outside of that run in Chicago, Kosgei also won the London Marathon and ran the fastest time ever recorded for a half marathon, 1:04:28.

Dalilah Muhammad, USA: 400m Hurdles

Muhammad broke the world record twice, with both coming in championship settings when the pressure was at its highest. To win gold in Doha, she had to beat the second-fastest woman in history, Sydney McLaughlin. Muhammad did lose twice on the year, losses that ended up not being consequential in her quest for gold, but could be used as comparison points with others in this list.

Mariya Lasitskene, Authorized Neutral Athlete: High Jump

Lasistskene was great as usual this year. She went 21 for 23, including the gold medal in Doha and the highest jump of the year, 2.06m. She even took some attempts at the world record. Unfortunately, in an event that doesn’t allow for doubling, I think it would have taken a world record and an undefeated record for a high jumper to crack into the top three this year.  

Salwa Eid Naser, Bahrain: 200m/400m

Naser had perhaps the most stunning performance of the World Championships, a 48.14 to upset Shaunae Miller-Uibo and win 400m gold. The mark was the third-best of all-time, venturing into territory controlled by women from decades ago. All total, she won all nine of her 400m finals. The only thing that might keep her from finishing the top three was her depth of performances. Yes, she won them all, but she only ran under 50 seconds on two other occasions. 

Hellen Obiri, Kenya: Distance 

Obiri had an interesting year. She won the World Cross Country Championships in the spring and had up-and-down performances on the track. She did, however, end the year as a 5000m gold medalist and the owner of the fastest 5000m of the year, 14:20.36. The latter she ran against Sifan Hassan, but after Hassan took Obiri apart in the 10,000m in Doha, it was clear that Hassan would have won the 5000m if it was possible.  

Yulimar Rojas, Venezuela: Triple Jump 

Rojas got dangerously close to the world record, jumping 15.41m in Spain before the World Championships. She won comfortably in Doha with a mark of 15.37m, but did have three losses on the year. 

Projected top three: Muhammad, Hassan, Kosgei

Projected winner: Hassan

Brown Cuts Men's Track & Field/XC

Brown University is cutting men’s track and field and cross country along with nine other varsity sports at the school, the school announced on Thursday as part of their roll out of The Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative.

2020 Boston Marathon Canceled

For the first time in its 124 year history, the Boston Marathon has been canceled as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

David Rudisha Undergoes Surgery After Breaking Ankle

(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Appalachian State Cuts Men's Indoor Track And Field

Appalachian State is dropping men’s indoor track and field, the latest program to make cuts to collegiate running programs since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Leo Daschbach Becomes 11th U.S. Prep To Break 4:00 With 3:59.54


On Saturday night in El Dorado Hills, California, high school senior Leo Daschbach (AZ) became the 11th U.S. prep runner to break 4:00 in the mile with his 3:59.54 clocking.

Is NCAA Track/XC Dying?


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The recent announcements of program cuts to men's cross country at Akron and men's track at Central Michigan have resurfaced a feeling of uncertainty for the future of NCAA cross country and track. Here is a breakdown of where our sport currently stands within the NCAA system.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Understanding Resting And Maximum Heart Rate

Throughout the past years, business has combined the health and technology industries to create a society where fitness tracking has become a regular pastime. People have become more invested in their health and want fun devices to assist in that. These smartwatches and apps have made it easier than ever to know what your exact heart rate is, how many hours of sleep you get, or how far you run. However, with all the knowledge presented to you, it’s equally important to actually understand what those numbers mean to best achieve all of your fitness goals. A big part of this is knowing the different active and resting heart rate zones. 

Pre-Run And Post-Run Stretches

Stretching before and after your run can add a lot of benefits to your exercise routine. It allows you to warm up your muscles and safely progress into your run and also provides your body time to cool off and continue to activate your muscles. It’s important to set aside a couple of minutes before and after exercising so you can make sure you’re taking proper care of your body. 

The History Of Track And Field

Track and field has been around since the start of the Olympics in Ancient Greece in 776 B.C. It was created alongside religious events and celebrations for the Greek gods where men (no women were allowed) could show off their athletic abilities. From there it spread to the Romans who continued the games until the Christian Emperor Theodosius I banned them in 394 A.D. because of their ties to pagan beliefs. 

Don't Miss The Quarantine Clasico Sub-4 Live On MileSplit


History could be headed our way on Saturday in California.