Pumping the Brakes on Jakob Ingebrigtsen?, Everyone Really Gets a Medal at The North American Champs, What is the American 1500 Record?

The Week That Was in Running –August 6 – 12, 2018

By LetsRun.com
August 15, 2018

The Week That Was is back after an incredible European Championships in Berlin. That’s where we’ll start this week’s column, but there was also some news midweek as the Chicago Marathon announced the international fields that will take on American stars Galen Rupp, Jordan Hasay, and Amy Cragg and the previously announced Mo Farah. If you missed our breakdown of an improved Chicago elite field, catch up now:

LRC Analysis Props To Chicago: Galen Rupp Will Battle Strong International Field As He Tries To Repeat At Chicago Marathon The men’s field features the winners of the 2018 Dubai, Tokyo, Rotterdam, Paris, Prague and Boston marathons. The American hopefuls on the women’s side, Hasay and Cragg, also face increased competition as well.

Past editions of The Week That Was can be found here. Questions, comments, or a tip? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post on our forum.



The #1 story of the week was without a doubt the double golds in the 1500/5000 from 17-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen at the European Championships. What an accomplishment.

Article continues below player.

But before anyone anoints him as the future of distance running (though it may be too late for that), let’s pump the brakes a little bit.

Embed from Getty Images

Winning Europeans is nice, but generally the best distance runners hail from Africa and it needs to be remembered that Ingebrigtsen didn’t win gold in either the 1500 or 5000 at World Juniors last month. If you are going to anoint Ingebrigtsen as the next great champion simply due to his age, then what about Kenyans George Manangoi and Edward Zakayo, who won gold in the 1500 and 5000 at World Juniors?

Also, it needs to be remembered that many child prodigies are people who, through a combination of early physical maturation and intense training, tend to hit their peak earlier than others.

In running, one of our favorite phrases is “If you keep improving, you’ll eventually set the world record.” A corollary of that is “At what age will someone stop improving?”

Some people run their PBs at age 20 (Jim Ryun), others at age 23 (Henrik Ingebrigtsen) or 24 (Alan Webb) and still others in their 30s, like Nick Willis, whose 1500 pb is faster than all of those runners and came at age 32.

The world junior record in the mile belongs to William Tanui (now known as İlham Tanui Özbilen), who ran 3:49.29 in Oslo at age 19 in 2009. His lifetime pb? 3:49.29.

Are we saying that Jakob Ingebrigtsen is going to turn out like Tanui, who has made just one global outdoor final in his career? No way. With Ingebrigtsen’s training focused on threshold running more than hard anaerobic training, he’s unlikely to burn out. Plus we’ve spent a lot of time over the last few days reading Norwegian articles about the Ingebrigtsens and found one that detailed how a university professor has been conducting physiological tests on Jakob almost every year since he was 11 and says Jakob’s marks are off-the-charts good.

“The exact measurements and figures I never say anything about, but it is a fact that nobody in Norway is close to the results that Jakob performs…I have been with and tested Norwegian world class performers for years, dating back to the time of the Kvalheim brothers (70s and 80s), and have never experienced anything near,” said Leif Inge Tjelta (via Google Translate) in the article in Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper (paywall), adding that Jakob’s results are “enormous, even for a 25-year-old, Jakob’s achievements are extremely extreme.” 

However, we still aren’t going to hand Ingebrigtsen the 2020 Olympic 5000 gold medal quite yet.

While Jakob is double European champ, he’s still not as good right now as his brother Filip, who earned World bronze last year and has a 3:30.01 pb. Filip was just incredibly unlucky to fall in the prelims of the 1500 and that fall resulted in him getting stitches and developing a back injury that clearly lingered into the final as he finished 12th in the 13-man field.

One other thing about Filip. While he’s the middle brother, he’s been serious about track for the least amount of time. Filip didn’t give up his soccer dreams until going all-in on athletics at age 16. Jakob, 17, says he’s been all-in on athletics since age 8, 9, or 10.

It is exciting to see what the future holds for Jakob. He’s obviously a massive talent and his own father, Gjert, has learned a lot from coaching his two older brothers. Most high school coaches only get one phenom; Gjert Ingebrigtsen has now had three. Imagine if Alan Webb went back to high school and could do it all over again. Don’t you think he’d end up being better? Imagine if he had a third run at it. That’s basically what Gjert has enjoyed.

Speaking of Gjert and teen prodigies, it’s worth nothing that Norway has a new law designed by children’s rights advocates that says that children can not compete outside of the Nordic countries before the age of 13 and can’t compete in competitions that produce national rankings/lists until they are of 11. Many of Norway’s top sporting and even chess talents are opposed to the law including Henrik Ingebrigtsen.

“When I was 11 years old, I was as professional as I am today. If anybody said, “No, we should not have rated lists. Everybody is winners. “Then I was cursed,” Henrik told VG .

If you want to learn more about Ingebrigtsens’ training, check out the threads below. We merged a bunch into the first one and then present a few other options as well.

Then be a fan and give us your predictions as to how good you think Jakob will ultimately be:

MB: What will Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s 1500 and 5000 PRs be at the end of his career?

 More: Article #1 on Norway’s child prodigy new law
*Article #2 on Norway’s new law


Konstanze Klosterhalfen Update

Being a teen phenom in women’s athletics is, of course, much more difficult to sustain. With Mary Cain approaching 2,000 days since her 1500 pb (she’s at 1,916 as of today) and Alexa Efraimson approaching 1,200 (she’s at 1,173), we were pleased to see Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen finish 4th in the 5000 at Europeans last week after missing about four months earlier this year with knee pain. While Klosterhalfen prefers the 1500 to the 5000, she ran the 5000 as she thought the fact that it was a straight final would benefit her as an athlete on the comeback trail from injury.

Comparing Klosterhalfen to Cain and Efraimson isn’t really fair as Klosterhalfen, now 21, ran her PBs of 1:59, 3:58, and 14:51 last year at age 20 (after running 2:01, 4:06 and 15:16 at 19). Klosterhalfen called her time away the “worst time of my life so far” but said she realized during the time away that running was her “passion.”

She and Nike are clearly feeling better about things now as they released a video prior to Europeans.

More: *Pre-Race: Q&A with Konstanze Klosterhalfen: “I value running even more today” (Translated)
*Post-Race: Klosterhalfen finishes 4th at Euros (translated)


Should Bernard Lagat’s American 1500 record be even faster?

Embed from Getty Images

One of the biggest storylines that emerged from the European Championships centered around Swedish pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis, who cleared an incredible 6.05 meters to move into a tie for fourth on the all-time list. We don’t know what is the crazier stat: that Duplantis cleared that height at just 18 years of age, or that his mark looks set to be ratified as an American record. That’s right: Duplantis set an American record while competing for Sweden at the European Championships.

How is that possible? Well, according to USATF Rule 261(a), “an American Record…shall be the best performance made by an American citizen or relay team composed entirely of U.S. citizens in an athletics event held within the United States or abroad.” That’s it. It doesn’t matter that Duplantis was competing for Sweden; he’s an American citizen, which means he can set an American record, and his jump in Berlin was better than Brad Walker‘s existing American record of 6.04 meters.

Becca Gillespy Peter pointed out this fact on Twitter, and it got us wondering if any other American records need to be adjusted. Someone already pointed out that Susanna Kallur, who was born in New York, should actually be the American record holder in the 60-meter hurdles as her 7.68 pb, set while competing for Sweden in 2008, stands as the current world record. But the person we immediately thought of was Bernard Lagat.

Lagat owns the American record in the 1500 meters at 3:29.30 from 2005. But Lagat actually became an American citizen on May 7, 2004 — he just kept it a secret as he wanted to compete for Kenya at the 2004 Olympics and Kenya did not allow dual citizenship. So did Lagat run faster than 3:29.30 in 2004? Yes, and by quite a lot: he clocked 3:27.40 in Zurich on August 6.

Could Lagat’s 3:27.40 actually be ratified as an American record? Well, Peter said that the reason why Kallur’s time was not ratified as an American record is because the records committee was not aware of her citizenship at the time. We imagine that’s true of Lagat as well since he concealed his U.S. citizenship until 2005. Now that the records committee knows about Kallur’s citizenship, Peter said it will discuss whether to ratify her 7.68 at this year’s USATF annual meeting. We guess if anyone from the records committee reads this article, they’ll have to discuss Lagat’s 3:27.40 now as well.

And also we’re a bit surprised the records committee wouldn’t know about Lagat’s citizenship in 2004. It was a big news story in 2005.

More: Thoughts on Mondo’s AMERICAN pole vault record?

Stat of the Week I / Last place gets you a medal

3 – number of distance events at the 2018 NACAC (North American, Central American, and Caribbean) Championships last week in Toronto where last place earned you a medal.

Yes, that’s right. There were only three entrants in the men’s and women’s steeple and women’s 5000. We can’t ever remember seeing a runner celebrate a last-place finish at an international event but we saw it this weekend:

Rather than spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on NACACs, USATF and Athletics Canada would have been better-suited lobbying the Pan American Games to hold their championships in the years 2018 and 2022, when there are no global swimming or track championships, instead of 2019 and 2023, when many top pros don’t want to go.

If the athletics world is going to take a break for continental championships it makes sense to have true championships people care about so the Pan American, European, and African champs would all have been held last week. It would have been a great week to be a track fan, not just a great week to be a European track fan. Or figure out a way to make American and Caribbean athletes to care about NACAC.

MB: Are you kidding me? Every woman who started the women’s steeple and 5k at NACACs medalled?

LeBron may have left Cleveland, but this will help fill the void

Last week, the first Guardian Mile was held up and down the Hope Memorial Bridge in Cleveland. Emily Lipari won the women’s race in 4:33 and on the men’s side, Nick Willis got the win in 3:59. Colby Alexander, whose mom Rae helped fund the race, was 4th. The race ended up serving as a college reunion for Willis as his old Michigan buddy Nate Brannen showed he’s staying in incredible shape in retirement: the 35-year-old Brannen won the community race in 4:13.

Weekly free coaching advice / Don’t forget the big picture

This week’s free coaching advice comes from former marathon world record holder Steve Jones. 2:09:49 marathoner Dewi Griffiths said he got the following advice from Jones, a fellow Welshman, about coming back from injury.

“During a quick chat with Jonesy back in the spring, one comment stuck with me, which was: ‘You don’t want to be in the same position in 12 months’ time’.”

The advice is spot on. Far too often, athletes think about the very short term. Can I run today? What’s my weekly total going to be? But what’s truly important is to focus on the big picture and make sure you are progressing year to year.

The coaching advice comes from an article on FastRunning.com about Griffiths’ comeback from injury: Dewi Griffiths reveals how he’s fought back from injury.

Stat of the Week II / That’s a big-ass road race

67,242 – number of finishers at the Sun-Herald City to Surf 14K in Sydney last week, the most finishers in a race in 2018 in the world.

Quotes of the Week (that weren’t quote of the day)

#1 Jakob Ingebrigtsen has been training for more than 10 years for his two golds

“I’ve lived as a professional runner since I was five years old. Everything I’ve done I’ve prepared for being one of the best runners in the world. Not many people have believed (he laughs) in me and my family’s thoughts but that has been the main goal to be one of the best runners. Now I’m 17 and European champion and this is one step in the right direction to become one of the best runners in the world.”

-Double European champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen‘s response when a journalist asked what people should know about him. The quote comes from Mark Cullen‘s blog Trackerati.com.

#2 Being a track fan in the US is like being in the movie Groundhog Day

“I’ve been writing about track and field and professional running consistently since 2012. Sometimes it’s akin to being an extra in the movie ‘Groundhog Day.’

“Year in and year out, we go to the same meets and marathons in the same places with the same journalists, coaches, agents, organizers, and many of the same athletes, who thankfully give life and storylines to the competition. We can also bank on a controversy involving USA Track & Field (the governing body of the sport) at least once a year. An uproar of varying proportions ensues, angry Tweets are posted, and we collectively shrug and move on in the same manner we always have.

“The plot never changes.”

-opening lines from an editorial by Erin Strout in Runner’s World about the 2020 US Olympic Trials being awarded to Eugene.

More: Why Are the 2020 Olympic Trials in Eugene? Because. That’s Why

#3 Jake Robertson wasn’t happy with his 2:08 marathon debut

“Honestly, I wasn’t pleased with it (my 2:08:26 debut at Lake Biwa in March). I believed I was in about 2:05 shape. I didn’t even know I had broken the New Zealand record because that didn’t even feature in my thought process. I was thinking about the course record (Wilson Kipsang’s 2:06:13) and that didn’t happen, and I didn’t win the race. I kind of had many emotions and I decided to enjoy that I had finished on the podium and then started thinking about the next one.”

-Jake Robertson talking last week in an article by Paul Gains announcing that the second marathon of his career will be the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 21. In the article, Robertson, who lives full-time in Kenya and is engaged to a Kenyan, announced that he’s unlikely to live in Kenya later in life, saying, “As for living here long-term, probably not. If we have kids in the future I would like for my kids to have full opportunity to anything they want to do. It’s not available here. We will have to put the kids first.”

More: New Zealand’s Jake Robertson To Race Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
*MB: Jake Robertson makes his marathon pick. #2 will be Toronto on October 21!

#4 When we think of Usain Bolt, we think mega talent, not mega hard-worker, but don’t tell that to Jamaica’s prime minister

“All Jamaicans are proud of the achievements of Usain Bolt and celebrate; 9.58 seconds over the 100 meters, the fastest man in history. The appeal of Bolt’s records is that they were achieved through a meticulous commitment to the process of training and adherence to the highest standard of integrity to the sport.

“The lesson government can take from the Bolt example, is that it is possible to have a public sector bureaucracy that is true to process and procedure, maintaining the highest standards of accountability and probity, while being efficient and responsive in delivering results. There is no trade-off between bureaucracy and timely outcomes.”

“We must improve the integrity of our public administration to achieve timely outcomes.”

-Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness talking in an Independence Day message about how Usain Bolt can be a role model for government reform.

More: Jamaica’s Prime Minister sees lesson from Bolt’s achievement

#5 Hassan Mead wants to get faster

“If you want to be relevant (in the 10,000), it’s an absolute fact that you have to run inside 54 seconds on the last lap. I don’t have the natural turnover, so getting faster, that is my objective.”

Hassan Mead talking to Dyestat’s Doug Binder about why he ran the 1500 at USAs this year and recently ran a 3:55.91 mile pb at the fifth annual Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh. Last week, Mead won the gold in the 5000 at the NACAC Champs over Riley Masters and Justyn KnightOn his decision to run NACACs, the Somali immigrant summed things up perfectly. “For me, it’s tough to deny a chance to wear the USA uniform. It means a lot to me and shows you are doing something right.”

More: DyeStat.com – News – Hassan Mead Can’t Say No To Opportunity To Wear USA Jersey At NACAC Championships

Recommended Reads

To see our favorite reads from other weeks, go here.

Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages

To see the actual quotes of the day from last week or last week’s home page or any home page, go to our archive page.

Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post in our forum.

Want More? Join The Supporters Club Today
Support independent journalism and get:
  • Exclusive Access to VIP Supporters Club Content
  • Bonus Podcasts Every Friday
  • Free LetsRun.com Shirt (Annual Subscribers)
  • Exclusive Discounts
  • Enhanced Message Boards