With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships taking place this summer followed by the 50th anniversary of the formation of European Athletics, the 2020 season will be a momentous season for European athletes and European Athletics alike.
From the European Throwing Cup in March all the way through to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in mid-December, we have compiled some key dates and events to add into your diaries.
European Throwing Cup
Where - Leiria, Portugal
When - 21-22 March
Countdown - 78 days
The European Throwing Cup represents for many athletes their first international competition of the season and a first chance to secure qualifying marks for upcoming summer championships. Leiria will stage the European Throwing Cup all the way through until 2022 although it is exceedingly unlikely any thrower will surpass Johannes Vetter’s stadium and championship record of 92.70m in the javelin over the next three seasons.
European 10,000m Cup
Where - London, Great Britain
When - 6 June
Countdown - 155 days
Individual and team stakes will be on offer at the European 10,000m Cup returns to the Parliament Hill Athletics Track for the third successive season but this race also represents one of the last opportunities for athletes to chase qualifying times for the Olympic Games (27:28/31:25) and the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships (28:50/33:20).
Last year’s individual titles went to Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa (27:49.79) and Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (31:15.78) with Italy and hosts Great Britain splitting the team honours.
European Mountain Running Championships
Where - Cinfaes, Portugal
When - 4 July
Countdown - 183 days
As is customary in even number years, the European Mountain Running Championships will be held on an up-and-down course this season. Switzerland’s Maude Mathys has proved adept on a range of courses during her esteemed career, winning the last three individual titles and she will aim to become the first woman in championship history to win four successive individual crowns.
European Athletics U18 Championships
Where - Rieti, Italy
When - 16-19 July
Countdown - 195 days
The third edition of the championships takes place in Rieti and is eligible to athletes born in either 2003 or 2004. The last edition in Gyor was highlighted by world U18 best performances from Ukraine’s Myhaylo Kokhan in the hammer (87.82m for the 5kg implement) and Spain’s Maria Vicente who scored 6221 points in the U18 heptathlon.
Vicente’s compatriot Salma Celeste Paralluelo could be one of the stars of the championships. At 15, Paralluelo represented Spain over 400m at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow last March and finished the year as the world U18 leader in the 400m hurdles with 57.43.
Where - Tokyo, Japan
When - 31 July to 9 August
Countdown - 210 days
Eleven Europeans won gold medals at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro four years ago. Mo Farah (10,000m), Sandra Perkovic (discus) and Anita Wlodarczyk (hammer) will be challenging for historic hat-tricks in their respective events and Norway’s Karsten Warholm will be in contention to become the first European winner of the 400m hurdles since the heavily-boycotted Moscow 1980 Olympic Games.
Great Britain was the leading European nation on the medal table in Rio de Janeiro with two gold medals - and seven in total - ahead of Croatia and Germany with three medals apiece including two gold medals each.
European Athletics Championships
Where - Paris, France
When - 25-30 August
Countdown - 235 days
The last and only time Paris staged the European Championships was back in 1938 when the men and women still competed in separate championships, although the two events were duly amalgamated for the first post-war edition in 1946.
France has won 193 medals in championship history and it is widely expected the hosts will reach the landmark figure of 200 medals in the Charlety Stadium at the end of August. The biennial championships will conclude uniquely with the decathlon 1500m and the potential homecoming of world record-holder Kevin Mayer who was born in the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil.
While most of the action takes place in the Charlety Stadium, the Athletics Park on the Trocadero will stage the qualifying round of the men’s and women’s long jump as well as the finish to both half marathons. A 10km fun run will also be held during the championships.
SPAR European Cross Country Championships
Where - Dublin, Ireland
When - 13 December
Countdown - 345 days
The SPAR European Cross Country Championships return to Dublin after eleven years and the Irish contingent will be hoping for a championships as good as the last one in Lisbon where they won four medals at the Bela Vista Park, including individual medals from Efrem Gidey in the U20 race and Stephanie Cotter in the U23 race. Gidey has since graduated into the U23 ranks but Cotter still has two more seasons to challenge for this title.
While the 2009 event was held in Santry Park, the 2020 edition takes place at the National Sports Centre Campus in Blanchardstown.