Best Female Distance Runners in 2020


Posted: May 28, 2020

Updated: May 28, 2020

  • Sifam Hassan won the 1500m and 10,000m in the 2019 World Championships
  • Brigid Kosgei broke the Paula Radcliffe’s world record in marathon running
  • Two-time Olympic champion 800m runner Caster Semenya might swap to 200m
Image via Pixabay

After reviewing the best female distance runners of all time, we’d like to introduce today’s most promising athletes, who might end up being a legend of the sport. They are running in top form and achieving great results. Some of them are already world and Olympic champions, while others are on the way to become one.  Let’s see the best female distance runners in 2020. 

Sadly athletics has been put on hold in March, with most big events like the World Indoor World Championships and the Olympic Games postponed to next year.  With no real major events going on at the moment, we checked last season’s performances to make up this list. Luckily the World Championships was held in 2019, where we could already meet most of the following female athletes. 

1. Sifan Hassan

Last year we could witness the emergence of a new distance runner superstar, Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands. She’s achieved great results in the previous years as well, like winning the 1500m in the 2016 World Indoor Championships. Or the 5000m in the European Championships in 2018. But last year she reached the top and has become a two-time world champion after winning both the 1500m and 10,000m. 

She is the only athlete  so far who could manage to win these two events in the same world championships. Hassan was also dominating the Diamond League last year after winning 4 events in the season. She also broke a 23-year old world record in the mile run. The Dutch athlete was a big favorite to win in the Olympics as well, now we have to wait one more year to see if she can do it in 2021 Tokyo. 

best female distance runners in 2020
They are the champions.

2. Brigid Kosgei

Brigid Kosgei is a Kenyan marathon runner, who is only 26, but already a winner of several great marathon races. She won the Chicago Marathon twice and the London Marathon last year. She holds the current world record for women running in a mixed-sex race which she achieved in the 2019 Chicago Marathon. Kosgei improved her best time by more than 4 minutes and broke the former record of Paula Radcliffe. She also broke the record of the half marathon at the 2019 Great North Run, but it was broken again this year by Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh. We might see both of them in the London Marathon 2020 which was postponed to October as online sportsbooks news in the UK were announcing. 

3. Hellen Obiri

Hellen Obiri is another great Kenyan runner, who is a two-time world champion in 5000m. She managed to defend her title last year in Doha, following her victory in 2017 in London. Obiri also won the silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and surely will try to become an Olympic champion next year. Beside the 5000m, she also competed in 3000m steeplechase earlier where she was a world indoor champion.  Last year she took part in the World Cross Country Championships where she won the senior race. 

4. Caster Semenya

One of the most controversial female athletes today, Caster Semenya is definitely a fantastic runner. She won the gold in the 2016 Olympic Games and in the 2009 and 2017 World Championships in 800m. She was also awarded another two gold medals for the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics after the disqualification of the Russian winner for doping.

But the South African athlete is in the middle of debates since she started racing. The reason is that she has more testosterone in her body than the normal level for a woman. The IAAF changed its ruling in 2018 and announced that athletes with higher testosterone levels have to take medication to lower it. The new rule was made for runners competing in 400m up to 1500m. To avoid its effect, Semenya has announced to switch to 200m and try to reach the finals in that event in the 2021 Olympics. 

best female distance runners in 2020
They are the best!

5. Genzebe Dibaba

Her name might sound familiar. Yes, she is the sister of Tirunesh Dibaba, who won our list of the best female distance runners in history earlier. Well, Genzebe is also very talented and belongs to the best female distance runners in 2020. She is a world champion from 2015 and a silver medalist from the 2016 Olympics in 1500. She still holds the world record in the 1500m outdoor and indoor, plus the indoor 3000m, the indoor 5000m and the indoor mile records. 

The 29-year old Ethiopian achieved great successes in the World Cross Country Championships earlier, winning four junior world titles. And she also had five world indoor championships titles in 1500m and 3000m. She could have defended her titles this year, but the 2020 World Indoor Championships has been postponed to next year with odds available before the race. 

6. Laura Muir

Laura Muir is a great British middle-distance runner, who won the 1500m in the 2018 European Championships and two medals in the 2018 World Indoor Championships in 1500m and 3000m. Though in the last Olympics in Rio she only finished 7th but she was only 21 then. Muir has improved a lot since 2016 and could almost stand up on the podium in last year’s world championships. She broke the British record in 1500m and also the European Indoor records in 1000m and 3000m.  If the Scot continues in the same manner, she might have a chance for an Olympic medal in Tokyo as online gambling sites in the UK are also predicting. 

7. Ajee Wilson

The American runner competes in the 800m and is the current US record holder. Last year’s world championships she took the bronze medal just like in 2017. Wilson also got a silver from the world indoor championships from 2018 when she repeated her result from 2016. She is also a former world junior champion. With Semenya’s possible departure Wilson might be one of the favorites to get the gold in the next Olympics.

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