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5,000m absent from World Athletics’ new Continental Tour 2020

Echoing the demise of the 5,000m at the Diamond League, it also will not be a core event of the new series

On Saturday, World Athletics announced dates for the new gold-level Continental Tour meets in 2020, a series of 10 of the best non-Diamond-League one-day meets, featuring the 200m and 3,000m steeplechase (which have been all but eliminated from the Diamond League) as its core events. But rather than expressing excitement about the new series, many athletes and fans noted that, just as the 5,000m will no longer be a core event in the Diamond League, neither will it appear in the Continental Tour.

One critic is Scottish runner Eilish McColganwho last month broke the Scottish 10-mile record formerly held by her mother, former world 10,000m champion Liz McColgan-Nuttall. As she pointed out, it means athletes will have very few opportunities to run qualifying times, accumulate world ranking points or win prize money at the 5K distance, which remains an Olympic and World Championships event. (The series will not offer the 10,000m distance either.)

“What’s the point in having it at the major championships?” McColgan tweeted. Many others echoed her views, citing the 5K and 10K as the most popular distances in the world for recreational athletes, who love to watch the pros compete in them. One commenter pointed out the exploding popularity of parkrun, the now-worldwide phenomenon that gives runners a chance to run a timed 5K in a park setting every Saturday morning, and which now attracts 230,000 runners at events in 22 countries. (There are now 37 locations across Canada alone.)


“It’s actually been really cool going into schools and chatting about my 5K time,” McColgan commented, “because people understand it. They can compare it to their own parkrun time and to other professional athletes!” McColgan finished 10th in the 5,000m final at the World Championships in September.

American high jumper Christian Taylor has also been outspoken on the subject of events that have been removed from the Diamond League. Inspired by his leadership, on November 20, the European Athletics Athletes Committee sent a letter of concern to the World Athletics Athletes Commission, which is chaired by Canadian race walker Iñaki Gomez.

The meets announced yesterday are the Gold level meets (there are dozens of lesser meets in the Tour, which are accorded Silver or Bronze status).

RELATED: Eilish McColgan breaks her mom’s Scottish 10-mile record

2020 World Athletics Continental Tour Gold level calendar

10 May – Tokyo, JPN
13 May – Nanjing, CHN
22 May – Ostrava, CZE
01 Jun – Hengelo, NED
09 Jun – Turku, FIN
13 Jun – Kingston, JAM
07 Jul – Szekesfehervar, HUN
06 Sep – Silesia, POL
15 Sep – Zagreb, CRO
*Tenth meeting to be confirmed