February 19, 2019
Update: Norwegian media is reporting that Henrik Ingebrigtsen has withdrawn from the race.
The 2019 IAAF World Indoor Tour comes to a close on Wednesday in Dusseldorf, Germany, and the star attraction will be Ethiopian Samuel Tefera, competing in his first race since breaking Hicham El Guerrouj‘s 22-year-old 1500m world record in Birmingham on Saturday. Once again, Tefera will run the 1500 in Dusseldorf, and this time instead of Yomif Kejelcha — his Ethiopian countryman who spurred him to the world record — he will square off against the Norwegian Ingebrigtsen brothers, Henrik, Filip, and Jakob.
And the good news is that there is a free live stream for the entire meet, which you can watch here (the men’s 1500 goes off at 2:32 p.m. ET).
Tefera, obviously, will go off as the favorite. He’s not only the reigning World Indoor champion and world record holder; he has never lost an indoor race in his life, going a perfect three-for-three in 2018 and winning all three of his races so far in 2019.
But while Tefera has been unbeatable indoors, he has also lost his most recent races against both Filip and Jakob (he has never raced Henrik). Both Filip — who has run 3:30 outdoors, earned bronze at Worlds in 2017, and beat Tefera at last year’s Diamond League final — and Jakob — who has run 3:31 outdoors and beat Tefera to earn silver at the World U20 champs last year (Tefera was 5th) — are more than capable of contending with Tefera.
Jakob, in particular, looks ready to run fast in Dusseldorf. In his only indoor race of 2019 in Bærum, Norway, on February 10, he blew away the field by over 10 seconds to win in 3:36.21 — a world junior record. Considering Tefera’s indoor PR was just 3:35.57 before he dropped all the way down to 3:31.04 in Birmingham, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 18-year-old Jakob make a sizeable jump now that he’s running against some real competition.
And if Jakob vs. Tefera is not a juicy enough storyline for you, we’ve got all three Ingebrigtsens in the same race. We don’t say it enough, but it is truly bonkers that there is a family in which three brothers have each won a European 1500 title and the slowest of them (by 1500 PR), Henrik, has still run 3:31.46 and finished 5th at the Olympics. He has run six seconds faster than anyone else in the history of his country but is only the third-fastest member of his own family. For context, only seven Americans have ever run 3:31.46 or faster.
Two fast brothers is rare but not unprecedented — the Manangois, Elijah and George, are the reigning senior and junior world champions in the 1500. But three brothers who have all run 3:31 or faster? We’re probably not seeing that again.
That’s why you should savor Wednesday’s race. Technically, it is the third meeting between the three Ingebrigtsens, per Tilastopaja. But we view this as the first “real” time they will all race each other. Their first race together came at an indoor 800 in Sandnes, Norway, in January 2015, with Filip winning in 1:49.95 to Henrik’s 1:50.00 and Jakob’s 1:56.54. But considering Jakob was just 14 years old at the time, we don’t view that as a fair fight.
Their second race together was the 1500 final at last year’s European Championships. Jakob famously won that race in 3:38.10, with Henrik 4th in 3:38.50 and Filip 12th in 3:41.66. But that wasn’t really a fair fight either, as Filip — who had been on fire that summer and entered as the defending champ — got injured in the prelims and was a shell of himself in the final.
Now that Jakob is of age (well at least in Europe, he’s 18 but is already clearly world-class) and everyone is healthy (as far as we know), we should get a real no-excuses Ingebrigtsen slugfest in Dusseldorf. And while we’re not ready to crown the winner king of the Ingebrigtsen clan — we’ll wait for a championship meet like Worlds to do that — whoever comes out on top will earn bragging rights. And the last pork chop at the next family dinner.
In case you’re wondering about the brothers’ all-time records against each other, Henrik is 3-2 against Jakob, Filip is 7-1 against Jakob, and Henrik is 15-7 against Filip, per Tilastopaja.
LRC prediction: Pacemaker extraordinaire Bram Som is in the field, but with no Kejelcha pushing the pace, we imagine the world record will not be under threat. We’ll go with Tefera FTW, but Jakob could give him a run for his money. Jakob definitely will smash the world junior record.
Tal about the race on our world famous fan forum / messageboard. MB: OH BABY. Must watch Wednesday track action (2:32 pm ET). Tefera vs ALL THREE Ingebrigtsens.