Jakob Ingebrigtsen Wants to Triple at 2023 Worlds; World Athletics Needs to Make One Easy Schedule Fix

By Jonathan Gault
August 26, 2022

On Thursday at the pre-meet press conference for the 2022 Lausanne Diamond League meeting, Norwegian star Jakob Ingebrigtsen revealed that he wanted to triple in the 1500, 5k, and 10k at last week’s European championships in Munich but illness prevented him from attaining the qualifying standard before the meet.

“I got COVID when I was supposed to race the 10k so I couldn’t put that into the plan for the summer,” Ingebrigtsen said ahead of his race at Friday’s Athletissima Lausanne Diamond League meet.

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Ingebrigtsen was then asked whether he would attempt the triple at the 2023 World Athletics Championships or the 2024 Olympics. He said he hadn’t seen the schedules yet but added, “I’m hoping that they’ve made it possible.”

You can watch the relevant portion of the press conference here:

MB: Jakob Ingebrigtsen wanted to take the triple!

On Friday, World Athletics announced the schedule for the 2023 Worlds, which will be wrapping up exactly one year from today in Budapest, Hungary. And we have bad news for Jakob: the 1500/5k/10k is basically impossible in Budapest. Here’s what it would require:

Day 1, 7:05 p.m.: 1500 first round
Day 2, 5:35 p.m.: 1500 semis
Day 2, 6:25 p.m.: 10,000 final
Day 5, 9:15 p.m.: 1500 final
Day 6, 7:00 p.m.: 5,000 semis
Day 9, 8:10 p.m.: 5,000 final

Even an athlete as good as Ingebrigtsen isn’t going to be able to run a 1500 semi at 5:35 on day 2 and come back 45 minutes later (at best, assuming he was in the first semi) for the 10,000 final. The triple is impossible as currently scheduled.

(Editor’s note: For the record. LetsRun.com coaching guru John Kellogg doesn’t think it’s impossible. “If it’s a slow enough start in the 10,000, he might be able to do pretty well in it,” said Kellogg.)

The good news is there is a VERY easy solution. Just move the 1500 semis back from day 2 to day 3. It doesn’t affect anyone trying the 800/1500 double (which doesn’t begin until day 4) and it still gives the 1500 runners a rest day between the semis and the final.

It’s actually baffling as to why the men’s 1500 is scheduled this way to begin with. In the history of the World Championships, there has never been two days of rest between the 1500 semis and finals which is what is scheduled to be the case next year. In 17 of the first 18 World Championships, there was one rest day between the 1500 semis and final (the only exception was the first Worlds in 1983, when the semis and final were held on consecutive days). In 2023, for some reason, there are now two rest days between the semis and final and that’s the only thing holding up an otherwise perfect schedule for a 1500/5k/10k triple.

If Ingebrigtsen is serious about the triple, his agent needs to reach out to World Athletics and ask the schedule to be changed. There is no good reason not to fix this.

What else you need to know about the 2023 Worlds schedule

There are a couple of key changes from previous years. The first is the length of the competition: nine days (August 19-27) as opposed to the 10-day schedule used for the last three World Championships. And, unlike the 2021 Olympics or 2022 Worlds, all track & field finals will be contested in the evening (the race walks and marathons will stay in the morning).

The full schedule can be found below, followed by a few thoughts about how conducive the schedule is to doubling.

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What doubles are possible?

Championship meets are better when the best athletes compete as much as possible, so it’s important that the schedule is set in such a way to allow the biggest stars to double up.

Overall, World Athletics has done a good job with the schedule. Despite being one day shorter than the 2022 Worlds, the schedule for the 2023 Worlds is pretty conducive to doubling. The traditional doubles — 100/200, 800/1500, 1500/5k, 5k/10k — are all very manageable. The 200/400 is doable for the women as well (the first round of the 200 is at 12:05 p.m. on day 5 with the 400 final at 9:35 that night) but not for the men (the 200 semis begin 75 minutes before the 400 final).

Here’s a look at the feasibility of two other doubles specific stars might attempt.

Women’s 400/400 hurdles (Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, Femke Bol)

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone hasn’t yet decided which event(s) to focus on for 2023, but one logical double — and the one LRC would most like to see her do — is the flat 400 and the 400 hurdles. That’s also a double the Netherlands’ Femke Bol might be interested in considering she won both events at the European Championships last week. Here’s how it would look, with the relays thrown in for good measure:

(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images for World Athletics)

Day 2, 9:35 a.m.: 400 first round
Day 3, 6:50 p.m.: 400 hurdles first round
Day 3, 9:10 p.m.: 400 semis
Day 4, 8:25 p.m.: 400 hurdles semis
Day 5, 9:35 p.m.: 400 final
Day 6, 9:50 p.m.: 400 hurdles final
Day 8, 7:55 p.m.: 4×400 relay first round
Day 9, 9:47 p.m.: 4×400 relay final

Verdict: The one potential stumbling block is that McLaughlin-Levrone and Bol would have to race twice in one session on day 3. But considering there’s a gap of two hours and 20 minutes between the races and considering both could jog the first round of the 400 hurdles and still advance, it’s still very doable.

It would also be great for TV. Stars draw eyeballs, and with this schedule you’d have McLaughlin-Levrone competing five straight days in the middle of the meet and then again on the final day for the relay.

Women’s 400/800 (Athing Mu)

Athing Mu has said she’d like to attempt the 400/800 double at a global championship one day, and after dominating the 800 the last two years (she hasn’t lost an 800 as a pro and won the Olympic and World titles), it might be time for her to add the 400 to her plate. Here’s how the schedule would look:

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images for World Athletics)

Day 2, 9:35 a.m.: 400 first round
Day 3, 9:10 p.m.: 400 semis
Day 5, 10:05 a.m.: 800 first round
Day 5, 9:35 p.m.: 400 final
Day 7, 8:25 p.m.: 800 semis
Day 9, 8:45 p.m.: 800 final

Verdict: Mu would have to run the 800 first round on the morning of the 400 final, but with almost 12 hours between races and an off day before and after, that’s not too much to ask.

The one thing that would be nice is if everything above was shifted forward by a day to allow Mu to run the 4×400 relay, but that’s not going to happen because both rounds of the mixed-gender 4×400 is on day 1 and World Athletics doesn’t want the individual 400 to start on the same day. Yet another reason to scrap the mixed-gender 4×400.

Talk about the 2023 worlds schedule on our messageboard.

MB: Jakob Ingebrigtsen wants to triple at Worlds. Should WA make a schedule change to help him do it?

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