When the Prefontaine Classic’s famous Bowerman Mile became overwhelmed by the interest of the world’s best middle distance runners, the International Mile was born.
Aiming to be a world-class race featuring established milers as well as rising stars, the International Mile has succeeded by providing deep fields with intriguing talent. The 2014 version found no fewer than 12 breaking the 4:00 barrier. This year’s intrigue is among its best ever as two young runners will be racing for their first sub-4 time – the event’s magical barrier that never gets old.
David Principe, an 18-year-old senior at La Salle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island, nearly became just the 10th U.S. high school runner to break into sub-4 territory, running 4:00.97 in January. The Stanford signee is commonly known as “DJ” (David Junior). At the National Scholastic indoor meet in March, he chose the 2-mile and ran a PR 8:47.40. Earlier this month, he took over the national high school lead in the 3k at 8:16.60.
For 16-year-old Jakob Ingebrigsten of Norway, the race will be his first-ever mile. A sub-4 time would have special significance, as the youngest-known sub-4 runner is American legend Jim Ryun, who was 17 years, 38 days old when he ran his historic 3:59.0 in 1964. Ingebrigsten will be some 154 days younger for Saturday’s race.
The 1500-meter equivalent for a 4-minute mile is about 3:42.2. Ingebrigsten is thus in the right neighborhood – his 1500 best is 3:42.44 set last year as a 15-year-old, which made him the world’s fastest-ever for that age (he has the 14-year-old mark also at 3:48.37). Last week he prepped with a two-second victory in the Portland Twilight 1500 at 3:43.85.
Fans will hear the Ingebrigsten name often at Hayward Field on Saturday – Jakob is the youngest of three brothers running miles at the Pre Classic. Middle brother Filip, 24, is in the Bowerman Mile, while oldest brother Henrik Ingebrigsten, 26, is the fastest entrant in the International Mile. Henrik not only has the family record at 3:50.42, but Norway’s fastest as well. Henrik is a two-time Olympian with five medals in the European indoor or outdoor championships. He was runner-up in the 2013 International Mile.
Johnny Gregorek, 25, will be coming back to his brief home. The Columbia grad transferred to Oregon for his senior season in 2015, giving the Ducks a 4th-place in the NCAA Indoor mile. In February he lowered his mile PR to 3:53.15, second-fastest by an American this year. His parents (John and Chris) were both national collegiate runners-up at Georgetown, and dad made the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic teams in the steeplechase.
Andrew Wheating, 29, won three NCAA titles while at Oregon, including a memorable 800/1500 double in 2010. The two-time U.S. Olympian won the 2015 Pan-American Games gold in Toronto.
Lopez Lomong, 32, won a 1500/3k double for Northern Arizona at the NCAA Indoor in 2007, his first year as a U.S. citizen. He has eight sub-4 mile races at the Pre Classic, tied for the most with the now-retired Bernard Lagat and Asbel Kiprop, who is one of the headliners in the Bowerman Mile.
Morocco’s Fouad El Kaam, who will turn 29 on Saturday’s race day, won last summer’s African Championships 1500. Jakub Holusa, 29, of the Czech Republic was silver medalist in last year’s World Indoor Championships 1500 and will be racing at the Pre Classic for the third-straight year. Chris O’Hare, 26, of Great Britain won the NCAA Indoor mile in 2012 while at Tulsa and last week was third behind Matthew Centrowitz and Mo Farah in 3:34.35 at the USATF Distance Classic in southern California.
Brazil’s Thiago Do Rosario Andre, 21, was 4th in both the 800 and 1500 in the 2014 World Junior (U20) Championships at Hayward Field. In early March, he scored an impressive double in Brazil at 1:45.65 and 3:37.39. He hasn’t lost yet this year and has never run a mile race.
Australia’s Luke Mathews, 21, won his second-straight national 800 title in April and was an Olympian in both the 800 and 1500 last year. Countrymate Matthew Ramsden, 19, was 6th in last year’s World Junior (U20) Championships and clocked an almost 4-second 1500 PR of 3:39.39 last week at the USATF Distance Classic.
Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, 26, of Canada was bronze medalist in the 2015 Pan-American Games. He was a semifinalist in Rio as well as the 2015 Beijing World Championships.
|International Mile||Personal Best|
|Henrik Ingebrigtsen (Norway)||3:50.42|
|Lopez Lomong (USA)||3:51.21|
|Andrew Wheating (USA)||3:51.74|
|Chris O’Hare (Great Britain)||3:52.91|
|Johnny Gregorek (USA)||3:53.15|
|Jakub Holusa (Czech Republic)||3:53.46|
|Fouad El Kaam (Morocco)||3:54.21|
|Charles Philibert-Thiboutot (Canada)||3:54.52|
|Luke Mathews (Australia)||3:56.7|
|David Principe (USA)||4:00.97|
|Matthew Ramsden (Australia)||4:06.98|
|Thiago Do Rosario Andre (Brazil)||None||(3:35.90 1500)|
|Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Norway)||None||(3:42.44 1500)|