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Can Jakob Ingebrigtsen break the 1,500m World Record?

Ingebrigtsen ran 3:28.32 to win the Olympic title in Tokyo which also happened to be a new personal best mark as well as a new Olympic and European Record. The Current World Record stands at 3:26.00 by the legendary Hicham El Guerrouj in 1998. Rumours have circulated that Jakob is planning an attempt on the World Record next year after capturing the Olympic title. The question is, can he lower his time by nearly 2.5 seconds and break the 1,500m world record?

▲Photograph: Chris Cooper (

Career Progression

After winning the 1,500m at the Gateshead diamond league in his season opening race Ingebrigtsen has said he wanted to win races in 2021 so will we see him chase fast times in the future. He has run a personal best in every season over the 1,500m and this year massively reduced his 5,000m personal best.

Running Wide

When watching Cheptegi or Gidey break the 5,000m and 10,000m world records they were in purpose built races to give them the best opportunity to do this. Right from the gun both athletes were able to run into lane one which is the fastest route. When watching the Olympic final Ingebrigtsen starts off a little-slower than everyone else and makes his way to the front in lane two around the top bend. That may not seem like much, but tiny margins could make all the difference and you do not want to be running any further than required.

3 Rounds

When Jakob won the Olympic Title, he had already run two rounds prior to this which will have taken something out of him. In the first round heat at the Olympics he ran 3:36 which was followed up with a 3:32 in the semi-final a couple of days later. Ideal preparation for a world record attempt would not include two hard 1,500m races in the days leading up to it. When he’s fresh, is there more time there?

Giving Full Effort?

This is a little tricky to answer as he has such a smooth running style and even when picking up the pace he looks effortless and relaxed. However when he ran his personal best he was sat comfortably behind Cheriyout and even past him on the bend with 120-130m left to run. If you are feeling tired during any race you would wait till the final straight to run the least possible distance and Jakob didn’t do this.

Before winning gold some online discussions floated the idea that Ingebritsen didn’t have the grit to dig deep however this is wholly disrespectful. You only have to look at the 5,000m World Championships Final in Doha to realise that this man can push his mind and body to incredible lengths. But rarely have we seen him look so exhausted in a 1,500m, especially when winning Olympic gold. Is there more time for Jakob in the locker?

Motivation & Belief

After winning the Olympic title, does the motivation still burn for the 20 year old Norwegian? Absolutely. Immediately in his post race interview after winning Olympic gold he was asked “Do you want to go down in history as the greatest 1,500m runner ever?” in which Ingebritsen simply replied “Yes”. Even before becoming Olympic Champion many of his answers to similar types of questions were very similar indicating the enormous level of self confidence he possesses. With athletics weekly he said “My goal is to be too fast for everybody else” and he has also been quoted as saying “I will not be 100% satisfied until I become the fastest ever” in an interview with European athletics.

This relies on a set of perfect conditions and in Tokyo he had the perfect pace maker in Cheriyout. How far would a pace maker be able to run at world record pace for and would any of his direct competitors be willing to help the young Norwegian try to break the World Record?

The Monaco Diamond League seems the obvious place to stage a world record attempt due to the litany of fast times in previous years and the willingness of the event director to always see fast times. It may be a year or two before we get an all out assault on the record and it will be fascinating to see if the 20-year old Norwegian can become the first man to run a 3:25 1,500m.

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