BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, September 08 — After a World Championships where he complained of not feeling well (albeit with two medals around his neck) Jakob Ingebrigtsen showed what he can do when he feels good, taking down the 2000 World Record of 4:44.79 that Hicham El Guerrouj had held for 24 years and a day. “It always fun to break a record,” Ingebrigtsen said, and a sellout crowd of 47,000 in King Baudouin Stadium agreed loudly.
The 22-year-old Norwegian followed a trio of pacemakers through laps of 56.67 and 56.77 (1:53.44), and was two strides behind Boaz Kiprugut’s heels when he passed halfway in 2:22.28. Then there was only one rabbit left, Cornelius Tuwei, who pulled Ingebrigtsen through 1200 in 2:50.79.
Already he was well ahead of El Guerrouj’s splits (1:55.4, 2:52.4) and the crowd responded accordingly. Some 10m behind, 19-year-old Raynold Kipkorir led the chase pack.
With 700 left, Tuwei pulled off and Ingebrigtsen set out on his own on the newly-reconstructed track with long, generous turns. Immediately he started stretching his margin, chasing the Wavelight which had begun to creep ahead. His fourth circuit took 57.35 and he hit 1600 in 3:48.14 — El Guerrouj had been 3:49.60. He would need a 56.64 to break the record. On the backstretch he ran abreast of the leading edge of the lights and on the final turn he shifted and pulled ahead. The crowd — on their feet now — roared as he sprinted to the line and crossed in 4:43.13, his last lap 54.99.
Behind him came a parade of national records, 6 more in all, as would be expected with a top-notch field and a rarely-contested distance. Kipkorir was 2nd in a Kenyan (and World Junior) Record 4:48.14, Stewart McSweyn 3rd in an Australian Record 4:48.77, then Neil Laros in a Dutch Record 4:49.68 and Mario García in a Spanish Record 4:49.85.
It was the first time more than one man had dipped under 4:50. The first 10 finishers ran the best-ever mark for their places.
Said the winner, “I had some kind of virus 10 days ago and I didn’t really know how I would be feeling today. However, I felt really good and ran a good race. To be honest this record wasn’t a difficult one for me. Sure, when you have to do it alone, it’s really tough, but I got…