As 2015 comes to an end, we take a look back at the year in athletics

It has been a worrying year for athletics, but we’ve also seen some great performances in 2015. Here we revisit an eventful 12 months for the sport.

Take a look at the links below and then why not share with us which stories really stood out for you in 2015? Tweet us @AthleticsWeekly, write a post on Facebook or make a comment beneath this article or on our forum.

January

» The Great Edinburgh XCountry marked the end of the festive break, with former cross-country skier Garrett Heath beating some of the world’s finest middle-distance runners including Asbel Kiprop and Bernard Lagat in the invitational 4km, while Chris Derrick and Emelia Gorecka won the 8km and 6km events respectively.

» Has doping ever been a more ubiquitous topic in athletics than it has been this year? The reputation of Russian walkers sank deeper into the mire with the news that Sergey Kirdyapkin, Valeriy Borchin and Olga Kaniskina were suspended for biological passport abnormalities. Later in the month, Olympic, European and world steeplechase champion Yuliya Zaripova was banned for irregularities in her biological passport, while Jessica Ennis-Hill’s long-time rival Tatyana Chernova was hit with a suspension after a sample from the 2009 World Championships came back positive after a retest.

» In better news, Morgan Lake set a world age-17 pentathlon best of 4448 in France, while Jessica Ennis-Hill announced she was back in training and targeting the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis in May.

February

» British Athletics announced that Birmingham and Glasgow would be alternating the hosting of the Indoor Grand Prix and that the annual Glasgow International Match would be no more.

» Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Morgan Lake entertained the crowd at the British Indoor Championships with an enthralling head-to-head in the high jump, which produced a UK record of 1.97m for Johnson-Thompson and a British junior best of 1.94m for Lake.

» Florence Kiplagat broke her own world half-marathon record in Barcelona. Aided by male pacemakers for the most part, Kiplagat stopped the clock at 65:09 to shave three seconds from her best.

» The build-up to the Indoor Grand Prix was dominated by a Twitter spat between Andy Vernon and Mo Farah, but the latter showed his class on race day by breaking the world best for two miles with 8:03.40.

» Fresh from breaking the British high jump record, Katarina Johnson-Thompson broke the British indoor long jump record with 6.93m.

» Genzebe Dibaba clocked 14:18.86 to break the world indoor 5000m record by more than five seconds in Stockholm.

» Lily Partridge and Charlie Hulson were among the winners at the English National Cross Country Championships.

» Aled Davies set two world records in two days in Dubai with marks of 48.87m in the discus and 15.92m in the shot.

March

» Katarina Johnson-Thompson was on the cusp of breaking the world pentathlon record at the European Indoor Championships but fell an agonising 13 points short of Nataliya Dobrynska’s record with her score of 5000 points. The Brit shed some tears, but it was nevertheless a terrific showing as she broke Jessica Ennis-Hill’s national record and became just the second athlete in history to break the 5000-point barrier.

» The walks were back in the news but for the right reasons this time. Yohan Diniz set a world 20km record of 1:17:02 at the French Championships, but this mark only lasted a week until Yusuke Suzuki clocked 1:16:36 at the Asian Championships. Closer to home, Tom Bosworth became the first Brit to break 40 minutes for 10km with 39:36 in Coventry.

» Mo Farah continued his record-breaking spree with victory in the Lisbon Half- marathon in a European record of 59:32. He also set a 20km record of 56:27 en route.

» The IAAF World Cross Country Championships saw senior race victories for Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor and
Agnes Tirop.

» Charles Eugster broke the world over-95 indoor 200m record at the British Masters Indoor Championships, clocking 55.48 to take more than two seconds off the mark set by American Orville Rogers in 2013. He later bettered it by running 54.77 at the European Masters Indoor Championships in Poland.

April

» Eliud Kipchoge clocked 2:04:42 to repel the challenge of training partners Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto at the Virgin Money London Marathon, while Tigist Tufa defeated the ‘Fantastic Four’ Kenyans including Mary Keitany and Edna Kiplagat.

» Paula Radcliffe’s time of 2:36:55 in London was her slowest by far, but the world record-holder was able to draw her illustrious career to her close by her own volition. Dogged by a career-threatening foot injury which forced her to miss the 2012 Olympic Games, Radcliffe bade farewell to top-level racing in an event she won in 2002, 2003 and 2005.

» Lelisa Desisa led an Ethiopian one-two for his second victory in a tactical Boston Marathon while Caroline Rotich outlasted Mare Dibaba in a memorable contest in the women’s race.

» The IAAF awarded the 2021 World Championships to Eugene without a formal bidding process – much to the chagrin of the Swedish Athletics Federation, who were planning to submit a bid for the championships. Newly-elected European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen also criticised the decision.

May

» An American sprint relay team including Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay might not win too many popularity contests, but they showed a Jamaican team anchored by an out-of-form Usain Bolt a clean pair of heels in the 4x100m final at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, 37.39 to 37.68.

» Conditions for the Manchester Great CityGames were in stark contrast to the hot and sunny climes of Nassau, but a huge turnout lined Deansgate to watch Jessica Ennis-Hill back in action. Competing for the first time since July 2013, the Olympic heptathlon queen ran a solid 13.14 for third in the 100m hurdles.

» As one widely-acclaimed athlete returned to the fold, another one bowed out the following day at the Morrisons Great Manchester Run. After running the course for a second time with a group of mass runners, Haile Gebrselassie announced he was drawing his quarter-century-long international career to a close.

» If 2014 was the year of the high jump, then 2015 was certainly the year of the triple jump. The Doha Diamond League served up a thrilling contest between Pedro Pablo Pichardo and Christopher Taylor who both surpassed the 18-metre mark.

» Dina Asher-Smith inched ever closer to the 11-second-barrier as she set a British record of 11.02 in Hengelo behind Dafne Schippers.

June

» Mo Farah found himself embroiled in the centre of the first major doping scandal of the summer as seven athletes or Nike Oregon Project associates accused Alberto Salazar of violating anti-doping laws. Farah was by no means directly implicated, but he was left to face the press on the eve of the Birmingham Diamond League where he passionately denied any wrongdoing. With the events of the previous days taking their toll, Farah withdrew from the meet.

» Dafne Schippers confirmed her intention to focus on sprint events rather than the heptathlon.

» No match for the full-strength Russian and German teams, a makeshift British squad finished a middling fifth at the European Team Championships in Cheboksary.

» Taylor Campbell produced the highlight of the British Under-20 Championships in Bedford by breaking his national junior 6kg hammer record with 78.74m.

July

» There were two national records over three days of British Championships competition: Isobel Pooley matched the British high jump record of 1.97m and Tom Bosworth won the 5000m walk in 19:00.73.

» The field-eventers dazzled the crowds in Lausanne but the middle-distances took centre stage in Monaco. Ethiopian phenomenon Genzebe Dibaba smashed Qu Yunxia’s seemingly impregnable world 1500m record with 3:50.07 while Asbel Kiprop nearly broke the men’s equivalent with 3:26.69.

» Britain’s youngsters excelled at age-group championships across the world. David Omoregie and Nick Miller won individual gold at the European Under-23 Championships while the Brits topped the medals table at the European Junior Championships with 11 gold medals. Britain also took three bronze medals at the IAAF World Youth Championships.

» Two British records were set within as many minutes at the London Anniversary Games. Dina Asher-Smith created history by becoming the first Brit to legally break the 11-second barrier for 100m with 10.99 while Shara Proctor sailed out to 6.98m in the long jump.

» There were world record-breaking performances by two of Britain’s athletes as they made the most of the home support at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final. First Georgina Hermitage ran 62.48 to break her own T37 400m record mark before sprinter Sophie Hahn also improved her own T38 100m record with 13.00 into a -1.3m/s headwind.

» Nick Miller broke the 31-year-old record British hammer record with 77.55m in Karlstad.

August

» Claims were made in The Sunday Times and ARD/WRD that athletes with questionable blood readings had won as many as half of the medals in endurance events at global competitions between 2001 and 2012 as revealed by a leaked database of 12,000 blood tests.

» The IAAF announced it had provisionally suspended 28 athletes after retested samples collected from the 2005 and 2007 World Championships returned adverse findings.

» Anita Wlodarczyk broke her own hammer world record and the 80 metre barrier with 81.08m in Poland.

» Seb Coe was elected as IAAF president, beating his fellow IAAF vice president Sergey Bubka to the top role.

» The foremost lesson from the World Championships? Never write off Usain Bolt. Not even when he is almost two tenths slower than his main rival in the semi-finals. Two hours later, Bolt powered to victory over a windmilling Justin Gatlin, 9.79 to 9.80, in the 100m final, before repeating the feat in the 200m.

» Mo Farah claimed his third global track doubleGreg Rutherford produced the second longest jump of his career of 8.41m to seal a Grand Slam of global long jump titles and Jessica Ennis-Hill claimed her second world heptathlon title just thirteen months after giving birth to her first child.

» The British team won seven medals in total and placed fifth on the placings table. Other key performances were Shara Proctor’s 7.07m British record for silver in the long jump, Dina Asher-Smith’s 22.07 national best for fifth in the 200m and Sophie Hitchon’s British record-breaking 73.86m for fourth in the hammer. From an international standpoint, the best performance of the championships was Ashton Eaton’s world decathlon record of 9045.

September

» Paula Radcliffe released a statement denying any form of wrongdoing after she was all but named by MP Jesse Norman during a parliamentary select committee hearing on the recent blood doping scandals.

» Mo Farah and Mary Keitany successfully defended their Great North Run titles, Farah retaining his title ahead of Stanley Biwott in a European best of 59:22.

» The Berlin Marathon course again saw fast times as Eliud Kipchoge and Gladys Cherono secured a world-leading Kenyan double, while Britons Scott Overall, Sonia Samuels and Alyson Dixon ran Olympic qualifying times.

October

» Dickson Chumba and Florence Kiplagat demonstrated their racing prowess by winning a pacemaker-free edition of the Chicago Marathon in 2:09:25 and 2:23:33 respectively.

» Jo Pavey set a world 10-mile masters record of 52:44 to finish second at the Great South Run behind Vivian Cheruiyot’s 51:17.

» The British team competing at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar surpassed expectations by finishing fourth on the medals table with 13 gold medals and 31 in total.

November

» The sport was rocked by what was certainly the biggest doping scandal since BALCO as a WADA Independent Commission report revealed the sheer scale of the doping problem in Russia. A 323-page report concluded an “institutionalised and systemic ongoing doping regime” was in operation and stated samples from a WADA-accredited laboratory were regularly destroyed. 

» Days before the WADA report was released, recently deposed IAAF President Lamine Diack, and former director of the IAAF anti-doping and medical department Gabriel Dolle were arrested and face charges of corruption and money laundering.

» As recommended by the Independent Commission, the IAAF Council took an almost unanimous decision to suspend the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) as an IAAF Member with immediate effect.

» Perennial nearly-man Stanley Biwott scored his biggest win to date in the New York Marathon while reigning champion Mary Keitany bounced back from a defeat in the London Marathon to comfortably retain her title.

December

» Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis-Hill were among the winners in the 2015 AW Readers’ Choice Awards.

» Sifan Hassan won the senior women’s race ahead of Kate Avery, while Ali Kaya improved on his runner-up spot from last year to claim the senior men’s title at the European Cross Country Championships. Under-23 gold went to Jonny Davies.

» Jessica Ennis-Hill was voted third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, while Mo Farah was seventh and Greg Rutherford ninth.

» The deputy general secretary of the IAAF, Nick Davies, “decided to step aside” from his role at the world governing body following the publication of extracts of an email sent from Davies to former IAAF marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack.