Jakob Ingebrigtsen has been a tough competitor when working within middle-distance pelotons over the past three years. He is the one that all his rivals have their eye on. They can be apprehensive about the tactics he may employ, to try to match or surprise him. The Olympic 1500-metre champion in 2021, and world 5000m champion a year later, Ingebrigtsen blends great talent with iron discipline, shaped by his father Gjert, who has trained him to become a champion from a very early age.
In Paris, he will have his sights on a single goal: to post a new world record time over two miles. The distance has seldom been run during the past thirty years, but scanning the past record times can make one’s head spin. Right at the top of the leaderboard is Kenyan Daniel Komen, who also holds the seemingly unbreakable world 3000m record (7:20.67). Setting a time of 7:58.61 in July 1997 in Hechtel (Belgium), Komen is the only person to have covered 3218m in under 8:00. The greats of running have tried to imitate him and surpass him, including Haile Gebrselassie, Mo Farah and Eliud Kipchoge, no less. However, every one of them has come up short. Such is the scale of the challenge that Ingebrigtsen, someone who is not afraid of anything or anyone, has set himself up for the running world to watch with great anticipation.
The race will not count towards the Diamond League ranking, but it will kick off the evening in style on Charléty’s blue track as the race start will be slotted in between the men’s 110m and 400m hurdles series. It will be the first highlight of the night.
Wavelight inaugurated in Paris
To assist him on his quest, the Norwegian may well be counting on the support of Wavelight technology, which will debut at the Charléty Stadium. This luminous device, which enables athletes taking part in endurance events to easily adapt their pace according to LED lighting posted on the rail inside the track, will also be used in the 800 m, the 3,000 m steeplechase and the 5,000 m. Some first-class pacesetters are also planning to support Ingebrigtsen and get him up to speed with the incredibly fast target pace he’ll need to successfully complete his mission.
Since February 2022, he has already pocketed the world indoor 1500m record in 3:30.60. This spectacular performance wasn’t set just anywhere, it took place at the Liévin meeting, a venue familiar to Ingebrigtsen as he’s already raced there four times in five years. Moreover, three of the four best-timed performances of his career were set in the Pas-de-Calais department of northern France. To date, Ingebrigtsen has only run in Paris once, securing fourth place in the 1500m in 2019. Since then, he has taken on a whole new dimension to become the man all middle-distance runners dream of beating. At 22, with his already substantial track record, it may seem as if a rock star has arrived in Paris on June 9th for a concert. The show will be quick and if he pulls off the record, it will be well worth seeing.