Jakob Ingebrigtsen Obliterates 2-Mile World Record with 7:54.10 in Paris

At just 22 years of age, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen already owns a resume most runners could only dream of compiling. In 2017, at 16, he became the youngest man to break 4:00 in the mile. In 2021, at 20, he won the Olympic 1500-meter title. A year later, at 21, he added the world title at 5,000 meters. 

But at Friday’s Meeting de Paris, Ingebrigtsen may have just run the most impressive race of his young life, clocking 7:54.10 for 2 miles to smash the 26-year-old world record* of 7:58.61 set by Kenya’s Daniel Komen (*officially a “world best” since World Athletics does not recognize a 2-mile world record). Ingebrigtsen was armed with tools that Komen, the outrageously talented Kenyan who streaked across the track & field landscape like a comet in the 1990s, did not possess. He raced in Nike’s foam-packed “super spikes” that have rewritten the distance record books over the last five years. And he was aided by green pacing lights on the inside of the rail, marking out Komen’s record pace for all to see.

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Yet this was still a towering run, not only for the staggering time but for the way in which the young Norwegian accomplished it. The green lights at Stade Charléty were set at record pace, intended for Ingebrigtsen to follow. A little ahead were the blue lights for pacer Kyumbe Munguti. After running in sync with the green lights for the first 1600, which he passed in 3:58.9, Ingebrigtsen picked it up early in the second half of the race and joined Munguti in following the blue lights at 1800 meters. Munguti stepped off at 2100 meters, but at that point Ingebrigtsen was cruising and only looking stronger and stronger with each step.

He hit the bell in 6:58 and by the back straight had left all the lights behind, passing 3000 meters in 7:24.07 (#3 on the all-time outdoor list by itself). He kept pressing from there, cranking out a 55-second last lap to obliterate Komen’s record to the delight of the French crowd, which offered a standing ovation.

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1 13 NOR
2 5 KEN
3 1 ETH
4 2 KEN
5 4 USA
6 6 ETH
7 8 GER
8 10 FRA
9 7 ETH
10 3 KEN
Distance Nat Name Time
1000 FRA CAMPION Benoit 2:29.07
2000 KEN MUNGUTI Kyumbe 4:56.95

Quick Take: The 2-mile is not run very often, but this was one of the greatest runs in distance running history

What is a 7:54.10 for 2 miles worth? Most elite distance runners may only race the distance seriously once or twice in their career so it can be hard to tell. But both LRC stats guru John Kellogg and World Athletics’ scoring tables rate 7:54.10 as among the greatest runs ever. Here is what they list for equivalent performances:

Event John Kellogg World Athletics Current world record
1500 3:25.42 3:25.90 3:26.00
3000 7:18.82 7:19.99 7:20.67
2 miles 7:54.10 7:54.10 7:54.10
5000 12:34.46 12:34.86 12:35.36
10,000 26:11.12 26:12.47 26:11.00

While the scoring tables have Joshua Cheptegei‘s 26:11.00 10,000m WR as the most impressive of the track distance records, there is a lot of respect within the sport for Komen’s 7:20.67 3000m, which has not been seriously challenged since he ran it in 1996 (no one else has broken 7:23). But, as Ross Tucker points out, Ingebrigtsen covered the 2800m segment from 400 to 3200m today at 7:20.4 pace (with a running start). If this was a 3k instead of a 2-mile, he would have had a great shot to break the record, especially considering how easy Ingebrigtsen made it look shifting gears over the second half. Ingebrigtsen’s 1600m split from 1600 to 3200m was an absurd 3:52.2.

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Quick take: Up next, a world record attempt in the 1500? We’ll see…

This could be quite the week for Jakob. Up next is the 1500 in Oslo in his home country of Norway on Thursday. There have been rumblings for weeks that Ingebrigtsen could be targeting Hicham El Guerrouj‘s world record of 3:26.00 in that race, and tonight’s run was a positive sign that Ingebrigtsen’s fitness is on point.

When asked what tonight’s run did for Oslo, Jakob in the video below said, “I would say it affects it positively. But at the same time, I know where I’m at. I know what I’m capable to do in training, but at the same time, it’s something else to do it in racing and it’s very good to get the answers that I got tonight.”

His comments also noted how the lights helped him tonight, “I think we really hit the perfect you know opening laps, good pacemakers, good light, and also as you said with an amazing crowd.”

Will we see a genuine assault on the 1500 in Oslo? That’s still TBD. Ingebrigtsen told Citius Mag that he sees the 1500 WR as “the biggest challenge that I’m going to face during my running career.” Then, speaking to Norwegian media, he said the Bislett Stadium track is too slow for a 1500 WR. He did say he wants to lower his 3:28.32 pb but made no promises other than to do his best and entertain the crowd. (Hat tip Tomek Baginski).

Ingebrigtsen’s post-race comments

Quick Take: It would be great to see Ingebrigtsen and Lamecha Girma race a 3000m against each other this summer

Daniel Komen began 2023 as the owner of three world records: the indoor 3000 (7:24.90), outdoor 2-mile (7:58.61), and outdoor 3000 (7:20.67), all of which had stood for more than two decades. Through the first six months of the year, two of them have been broken — the indoor 3000 by Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma in February, and now the outdoor 2-mile by Ingebrigtsen tonight. Could the third record — regarded as the hardest of the trio — be gone by the end of the year? And if so, who will be the man to break it?

Ingebrigtsen is certainly in shape to threaten it, and Girma, who ran 7:23.81 indoors and tonight broke a 19-year-old world record by running 7:52.11 in the 3000m steeplechase, is super fit right now as well. The two men have never raced. We’d love to see them square off in a 3000m at some point in 2023 and take a crack at 7:20.67.

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