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Looking back - what athletics actually happened in 2020?

01/04/2021 00:00, In Blog /

"We're proud of the history of our sport in Wales, and thanks to Clive Williams and others, we have this updated record of the key milestones tracking all the significant events and changes to Athletics in Wales dating back to 1860. We know 2020 was a year like no other for the sport, but there were significant performances and events which have now all been added to the Milestones Document. As always our thanks go to Clive for his tireless work in maintaining this invaluable record. We look forward now to our athletes making their mark in the history books in 2021, and indeed at Birmingham 2022."

Rob Sage, Head of Corporate Services


  • Due to the coronavirus epidemic, the year has been extraordinary in that for the first time - apart from during the first and second world wars - the vast majority of championships and events were cancelled. The junior & senior indoor championship, and the cross country championships, both of which took place before the epidemic, were the only events to survive. James Hunt took the cross-country title to repeat his 2018 win denying Dewi Griffiths of an eighth win, whilst Mel Wilkins took her first women’s title. The first integrated track and field championships took place in Newport in 1907 whilst cross-country championships were held for the first time at Ely Racecourse in Cardiff 1894.
  • Kris Jones wins the home countries cross country title in Stirling.
  • In the Athletics Weekly cross-country rankings for 2019/20, Charlotte Arter last year’s GB number one had to settle for third this time, whilst Matt Willis retains his top spot in the under-20 group. 2020: At the British Masters Cross Country Championships, Corwen, former Welsh cross-country team captain back in the 1960s, Roger Harrison-Jones, takes the men's over 80s title.
  • Natasha Cockram wins the UK marathon title in the London race in 2:33.19, whilst Josh Griffiths runs a personal best to finish third Briton with 2:13.11. 2020: In the 24th edition of the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland, Cardiff-based Jake Smith moves to third in the UK all-time lists with 60:31 whilst Kris Jones and Clara Evans are also part of the British team.
  • Despite the year being severely curtailed due to the pandemic, the following athletes achieved outstanding performances and were crowned as athletes of the year: Senior male: Josh Griffiths for his fine performance in the London marathon where he finished third in the UK championships. Senior female: Melissa Courtney-Bryant, primarily for her 3,000m win in the UK indoor championships. Junior male: Owain Lloyd Hughes, UKs number one junior sprinter. Junior female: Bethany Moule, UKs number one junior javelin thrower and third placer in UK senior championships.
  • Welsh Athletics Chairman and former UK sprint relays coach Steve Perks is appointed to the board of UK Athletics. James Williams, previously head of Operations is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Welsh Athletics after serving as the interim CEO since January following the departure of Matt Newman to become full-time CEO of Run 4 Wales. Helen Adams and Tom Overton are appointed non-executive directors of Welsh Athletics
  • Former world junior 100 and 200m champion and non-executive director of Welsh Athletics, Christian Malcolm, is appointed UK head coaching. He returns from Australia where he was head of performance and coaching for the governing body.
  • At the rearranged UK track & Field championships in Manchester, former champion Bethan Davies takes silver in the 5,000m walk; Tom Hewson wins javelin bronze and Rebecca Chapman and Bethany Moule win bronze in the long jump and javelin respectively. Bethany threw a fine personal best of 51.27m for a new Welsh under-20 record.
  • Nine Welsh track & field athletes can claim to be amongst Britain’s best in virus-savaged 2020. This fact is revealed in the 53rd annual UK rankings produced by the much respected athletics statistician and author, Peter Matthews. Heather Lewis repeated her top ranking of 2019 to head the walks list becoming the only Welsh athlete to top the list. Natasha Cockram’s fine run in the London marathon mentioned earlier earned her second spot in the marathon rankings whilst Melissa Courtney-Bryant (5,000m); Charlotte Arter (10,000m); Adele Nichol (shot); Bethany Moule (javelin); Piers Copeland (1,500) and Josh Griffiths (marathon) were all ranked in third spot as was Osian Jones (hammer) who repeated his third-place from 2019.