The IAAF World Championships will take place in London from Thursday, Aug. 4 through Sunday, Aug. 13. That’s a lot of days of track and field. While many are excited, a few runners may be wondering why you should devote over a week to watching running. We highlighted how to watch, along with a few key races that you should tune in for.
How To Watch
Coverage of the World Championships will be split between NBC, NBCSN and their streaming service NBC Sports Gold. Weekend afternoon sessions will broadcast on NBC, while NBCSN will show weekday and early morning weekend coverage. Aside from replays of the marathon and tape-delayed day one coverage on NBCSN, every other event will be broadcasted live. The most coverage will be found on their streaming app. However, it is a subscription-based service, available for $69.99 for the entire track and field season. Take a look at the the meet schedule of events, as well as the broadcast schedule.
The last races of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah
Two legends in the sport are set to retire following their races at World Championships. Usain Bolt, the greatest sprinter of all time, will attempt to win one last 100 meters. Heats begin on Friday, Aug. 4, with the final set for 4:45 p.m. EST on Saturday, Aug. Although he is not entered in the 200 meters, Bolt will likely compete for Jamaica in the 4×100 meters on Saturday, Aug. 12, in what will be his last race as a professional sprinter. Meanwhile Mo Farah is entered into both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters—and at 34, these may be his toughest races ever to win. Although he is retiring from the track, we’ll likely see Farah on the roads at the marathon distance soon. The 10,000 takes place on Friday, Aug. 4 at 4:20 p.m. EST. The 5000 meters heats start on Wednesday, Aug. 9. Then the finals take place on Saturday, Aug. 12 at 3:20 p.m. EST.
The continued resurgence of U.S. middle distance running
There is a very strong chance that we will see a few U.S. middle distance runners walk away with medals. In the women’s 800 meters, South Africa’s Caster Semenya and Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba have gone 1-2 in every race this season. However, American Ajee Wilson, who last month broke the American record in the 800 with a 1:55.61, has a very real shot to make the podium. Evan Jager should place in the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase. The only question is what color his medal will be. Matt Centrowitz will look to follow up his Olympic gold with another win in the 1500 meters. And although they face tough competition in their respective events, you never know what magic Emma Coburn (3,000m steeplechase) and Jenny Simpson (1500 meters) could find on the track.
The 200/400 double
It is always exciting when an athlete attempts the 200 meters/400 meters double. At the World Championships, there are three runners looking to win both events. South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk broke Michael Johnson’s 400-meter world record at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He will attempt to equal another of Johnson’s feats—becoming the second man to win both the 200 and 400 at World Champs. He should be untouchable in the 400. With Andre De Grasse of Canada withdrawing from the meet due to a torn hamstring, van Niekerk’s chances of winning the 200 meters just got stronger as well. His main challenger, Isaac Makwala of Botswana, is also attempting the double and has run very fast this year. On the women’s side Shaunae Miller-Uibo of Bahamas wants to be the first woman to win both the 200 meters and 400 meters at World Champs. She has an Olympic gold in the 400 meters, when she memorably out-leaned Allyson Felix at the line. However, with Felix entered in the 400 and a strong field in the 200, she has a challenge ahead of her.
Everything will be shown live
Nothing is worse than having to watch tape-delayed coverage of track meets, especially because the outcome gets spoiled on social media. Since London is only five hours ahead for east coast viewers, almost every event will be broadcasted live. Morning sessions may be a bit tough for west coasters to catch (unless you wake up at 3 a.m.), but every important final takes place during the afternoon. It’s the perfect excuse to relax on the couch after your long run and watch these amazing athletes compete.