It's technically the off-season for outdoor track and field worldwide. But there's plenty of warm weather in the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia, where the Zatopek:10 was run in Melbourne on Thursday. The event's 10,000-meter victories by Kenya's Samuel Chelanga and Nikki Chapple of Australia were overshadowed by New Zealand's Tom Walsh, who set a national shot put record of 20.61 meters (67 feet, 7 inches).
In the Northern Hemisphere on Sunday, Sophie Duarte of France won the European Cross Country Championship, finishing the 8-km race in 26:34. Spain's Alemayehu Bezabeh won the 10-km men's event in 29:11. The Championships were held in Belgrade.
Marathon action last weekend focused on the western Pacific with events in Singapore, China and Japan.
In Japan's Fukuoka Marathon, Martin Mathathi of Kenya crossed the line in 2:07:16 to beat the runner-up, defending champion Joseph Gitau, by almost two minutes. Very hot weather in Singapore resulted in relatively slow times as a pair of Kenyans overcame the conditions to post victories. Sharon Cherop and Ethiopia's Debre Godana were both credited with times of 2:41:12 in the women's race, but Cherop finished first by about two-thirds of a second. Chelimo Kipkemoi won the men's race in 2:15:00. China's Shanghai Marathon provided an exception to the usual parade of Kenyan and Ethiopian winners this year, as South Africa's Stephen Mokoka won the men's race in 2:09:30. Aberu Kebede of Ethiopia finished first in the women's event, in 2:23:27.
Marathons took a back seat to cross-country events last weekend. In the U.S., the highlight was the NCAA Championships. Kenyan Edward Cheserek, running for the University of Oregon, won the men's title in Terre Haute, Ind., completing the 10-kilometer course in 29:42. Dartmouth's Abbey D'Agostino won the 6-km women's race in 20:01.
Ethiopia's Sofia Assefa won Sunday's Cross Internacional de la Constitucion in Spain, running the 7.6-km course in 25:33. Emmanuel Bett of Kenya won the men's race in 28:00 over 9.5 km.
In the Great Ethiopian Run 10K event, Atsedu Tsegay was the men's champion in 29:21 while Netsanet Gudeta ran 33:23 in the women's race. Cornelius Kangogo defended his title in the Cross L'Acier in France, finishing the 9.5-km course in 28:07. Hiwot Ayalew won the women's race in 22:30 over 6.55 km.
Both Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce turned the 100-200 sprint double at the World Championships this year. The pair turned another double on Saturday, as both Jamaicans earned IAAF Athlete of the Year awards. Bolt won the men's award for the fifth time in the past six years while Fraser-Pryce gained the women's crown for the first time. Each athlete won three gold medals in Moscow, including their performances in the 4 x 100-meter relay.
Mo Farah, a men's finalist, didn't win on Saturday, but his coach did. Alberto Salazar gained the IAAF Coaching Achievement Award for his work with runners such as double-World champion Farah, Galen Rupp and Mary Cain. Cain also earned a trophy, the IAAF Rising Star award, after qualifying for the World Championship 1500-meter final at age 17.
At the other end of the age spectrum, American Dwight Phillips and Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva won the Distinguished Career awards. Both athletes announced retirements in 2013, although Isinbayeva hinted she may return. Phillips won one Olympic and four World Championship gold medals in the long jump. Isinbayeva won pole vault golds at two Olympics, three outdoor World Championships and four World Indoor Championships. She holds the women's pole vault record with a leap of 5.06 meters (16 feet, 7¼ inches) in 2009.
The IAAF will announce its male and female Athlete of the Year choices on Saturday, selecting from three finalists for each award.
The women will have a first-time champion. The three finalists include Valerie Adams, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Zuzana Hejnova, all of whom won World Championship gold medals in Moscow. Adams dominated the shot put competition all year, posting the world's top six throws. Hejnova was undefeated in the 400-meter hurdles and ran seven of the year's eight fastest times, including the top two. Fraser-Pryce turned the 100-200 double at the World Championships, ran the world's three best 100-meter times and posted the top two times at 200 meters. Sprinters haven't dominated the women's Athlete of the Year awards the way they have the men's competition in recent years - just three female sprinters have won the award since 2001 - but I'm betting that Fraser-Pryce's World Championship performance will make the difference and give her the 2013 title.
The men's finalists include Usain Bolt, who turned the 100-200 double in Moscow; Mo Farah, who won World Championship golds at 5,000 and 10,000 meters; plus Bohdan Bondarenko, who challenged the world record throughout the year and set a World Championship mark of 2.41 meters (7 feet, 10¾ inches). Bondarenko posted three of the world's top four jumps in 2013, but I'm guessing that the award goes to either Bolt or Farah. Bolt didn't have the year's top 100-meter time - his 9.77 time in the World Championship final was second overall to the since-suspended Tyson Gay - but Bolt had the top two times at 200 meters. Farah wasn't even in the top 10 on the world lists at either 5,000 or 10,000, but he was in front when it counted most, in Moscow. Bolt has won the award four times in the last five years, but if I had a vote in 2013, I'd give Farah a slight edge.
The times weren't particularly fast but there were some interesting marathon races on Sunday. In Beirut, Kenya's William Kipsang won his first marathon in five years. Kipsang, who previously won major marathons in Amsterdam, Seoul and Rotterdam between 2003 and 2008, finished in 2:13:34. Ethiopia's Rehime Kedir Robel won the women's event in 2:33:29.
Ethiopia's Sore Abdissa and Edeo Telo ran stride-for-stride toward the finish line in the Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes Nice-Cannes in France on Sunday, with Abdissa crossing first. Both runners were credited with times of 2:13:58. Salina Jebet Kosgei of Kenya won the women's race comfortably, in 2:41:34.
In Athens, Hillary Kipkosgei Yego - not to be confused with Hillary Kipsang Yego, who's best known as a steeplechaser - won his first marathon, crossing the line in 2:13:59, while fellow Kenya Joan Rotich ran 2:41:38 to take the women's race.
A Kenyan and an Ethiopian claimed $500,000 prizes after their performances in the New York City Marathon on Sunday. Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo won the women's race in 2:25:07. Combined with her victory in the London Marathon earlier this year, and her silver medal at the 2012 Olympics, Jeptoo won the 2012-13 World Marathon Majors championship and its half-million-dollar prize. She earned another $100,000 for winning Sunday's race. New York resident Bizunesh Deba, who's still an Ethiopian citizen, placed second. The leading American finisher was Adriana Nelson, who was 13th in 2:35:05.
Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won the men's race for the second consecutive year, finishing in 2:08:24. Runner-up Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia - who won in London this year and was fourth in the World Championships - secured the World Marathon Majors title. Ryan Vail was the top American in the race, finishing 13th in 2:13:23.
Kenya's James Kwambai won his third consecutive Seoul Marathon on Sunday, finishing in 2:06:25. South Korea's Park Ho-Sun won the women's race in 2:31:32.
Kenyans dominated last weekend's distance races, many of which took place in difficult weather conditions. In Frankfurt, for example, runners battled high winds but still managed respectable, although not record-breaking times. Vincent Kipruto won the men's race in 2:06:15, just one second ahead of fellow Kenyan Mark Kiptoo, who was a surprising runner-up while making his marathon debut at age 37. Another Kenyan, Caroline Kilel, won the women's event for the second time in a personal best 2:22:34. Gelete Burka, the 2006 World Cross Country champion and 2008 World Indoor champ at 1500 meters, ran her first marathon and stayed with the leaders for half the race before eventually slipping to 12th.
Kenya's Caroline Chepkwony won the Ljubljana Marathon in Slovenia in a personal best 2:27:27. Mulugeta Wami of Ethiopia took the men's race in 2:10:26. A pair of Kenyans triumphed at the Venice Marathon with Nixon Machichim winning the men's race in 2:13:10 and Mercy Kibarus crossing the line first in the women's event in 2:31:14.
Two more Kenyans won at the 10-kilometer Great South Run in Portsmouth, U.K. on Sunday. Florence Kiplagat battled windy and rainy conditions to finish in 53:53, running away from the field to win by 2:50. Emmanuel Bett ran 48:03 in the men's race to beat South African defending champion Stephen Mokoka by 19 seconds. Mule Wasihum gave Ethiopia another victory Sunday, winning the Marseille-Cassis 20-kilometer event in 1:00:09. The women's winner was Kenya's Josephine Chepkoech, in 1:10:03.
Check out the final three 2013 World Championship reviews, with articles covering the men's and women's distance races, plus the race walking events. Also look for a new profile of high jump World champion Bohdan Bondarenko.