The star shot at Ingebrigtsen: - I know he was quite annoyed
Mario García Romo almost scraped the heels of Jakob Ingebrigtsen during the EC in Munich. Now the Spaniard is part of the hottest running group in the world, which can boast three of the Norwegian's biggest rivals before the season.
- In the EC I was very close to Jakob. I know he was quite annoyed with me that I might have come across his heels. My point is you have to be there. You cannot give one meter. Because then he will take you. If you are not close, he will run away from you, says García to NRK.
He reminisces back to the highlight of the season via Zoom. The bronze medal in Munich, behind Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Jake Heyward. The Spaniard is charging up for the season at medium altitude in Colorado. Soon the table will be set for new duels against the Norwegian in the Diamond League.
The Spaniard "no one" had heard of until last summer he delivered 4th place and set a personal record with five seconds in the 1500 meters in the World Championships. Just over a month later, he secured EC bronze. He was like a pain in the back of gold winner Ingebrigtsen.
- I know I was a bit annoying in that race, but that's racing. It's not personal, it wasn't on purpose, it just happened, smiles García.
The rising star is a slightly different type of runner than Ingebrigtsen. He lacks the Norwegian's endurance, but he is speeding up. García believes that numerous college courses have made him a good field runner and tactician. Before the WC, he reckons that he had 28 runs in his feet.
REPEATED DUELS: Ingebrigtsen and García met both in the WC and EC. Here after the semi-final in Eugene.
Now he hopes that new duels against Ingebrigtsen & Co. will enable him to fight for WC gold in Budapest in August.
- It will be tough, but I was only one second behind them last year. I'm going to go out there and then we'll see what happens, says García.
The breakthrough man ended a solid college career last year. Now he is part of one of the most talked about running groups in the world, which is trained by Dathan Ritzhenhein. The equipment manufacturer On has gathered three of the world's best 1500 meter runners and a number of strong middle and long distance cards.
From a Norwegian perspective, these are the most interesting:
Mario García Romo , bronze winner in the EC and 4th place in the WC in 2022
Oliver Hoare , winner of the 1500 meters at the 2022 Commonwealth Games
Yared Nuguse , American record holder in English mile and 3000 meters indoors
The latter made headlines this winter after a very strong indoor season. Nuguse struck with an American record for both 3000 meters and one English mile in times 3:47,38 and 7:28,24 minutes.
- He is the American with the best chance of beating Jakob. He ran 3.47 in the mile this year. We know that Jakob likes to run quickly to the front, and in recent years there has not been any American who has been fast enough to keep up, says Jonathan Gault, who works for Letsrun.com.
- We know that Yared is in a hurry to do it. The question is whether he will do it after three races in the final of a global championship. Jakob has shown several times that he can, while Yared has never competed in the Olympics or World Championships. He is untested at this level, but he is the one with the best chance of beating him, believes Gault.
On Sunday, they will start against each other for the first time in the NRK-broadcast Diamond League vote in Rabat, at 20.11.
Norwegian elements in the team
European Championship finalist in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, Jacob Boutera, has one foot in both camps.
Last autumn he was on a high-altitude gathering in Flagstaff in the USA with Ingebrigtsen, just after a gathering with the On gang.
- They train quite differently. They haven't taken to the double threshold yet, but they train on much of the same. They run a lot and a lot around the threshold intensity. Instead of a double threshold, they have a fairly long threshold. The volume will be more or less the same, but structured differently. More specific track training. Higher speed and more in spiked shoes, says Boutera, who is an expert in broadcasting on Sunday.
García says that coach Ritzenhein's motto is that you must make high performance a habit. In Colorado, they train, hang around each other. They skip partying and late nights in order to perform at their best on the athletics track. And maybe turn 4th place last year into precious metal.
He predicts new tough duels against Jake Wightman, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Josh Kerr, Jake Heyward, Timothy Cheruiyot, Oliver Hoare.
- There is only one year between them, so many of the competitors will be the same. Then you can push Yared into the equation. I think he has great potential. I will try to catch up with them, says García, who believes it will be an advantage that he gets to meet Ingebrigtsen several times before the WC.
Olav Aleksander Bu, the mastermind behind Norwegian triathlon success, also contributed to the On training group. He nevertheless emphasizes that he does not help the 1,500- and 5,000-meter runners. He has too much respect for the Ingebrigtsen brothers for that.
His contribution is mainly related to distances from 10,000 meters and up, and also that he is involved in shoe development. Gustav Iden won the Ironman WC in Hawaii with an On shoe, which was further developed and ensured Hellen Obiri's marathon success in Boston in April.
PS! Jakob Ingebrigtsen opens the season with 1500 meters in Rabat against García, Hoare and Nuguse. They meet for a rematch at Bislett on 15 June. You can follow the Diamond League broadcasts on NRK.