Jakob Ingebrigtsen Crushes 1500 Field to Win Record 6th European Title

Ingebrigtsen put 10 meters on the field over the final 200

Jakob Ingebrigtsen once again dominated the field in the European Championships 1500-meter final on Wednesday. Two years ago in Munich, Ingebrigtsen set a record for margin of victory by running a championship record of 3:32.76 to win by 1.68 seconds. Tonight in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, his winning margin was slightly smaller — 1.35 seconds — but almost all of it came over the final 200 meters and the Norwegian still made history as he won in a championship record of 3:31.96 (53.34 final lap, 26.11 final 200).

More importantly, with the win, Ingebrigtsen completed the 1500/5000 double for the third consecutive championships and became the first man to win six career gold medals at the Euros, breaking a five-way tie with Roger BlackMo FarahHarald Schmid, and Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, each of whom won five. Considering Ingebrigtsen is still just 23 years old, expect him to extend that record by the time his career is over.

(Editor’s note. It probably should be pointed out that Euros took place once ever four years up until 2010. Starting in 2012, they moved to every two years).

Wednesday’s race was vintage Ingebrigtsen. Facing a jumbo-sized final of 16 athletes (four extra men were advanced after falls in the prelims), Ingebrigtsen took his usual casual step off the start line and was in last after 100 meters. After a 57.03 opening 400 for leader Ignacio Fontes of Spain, Ingebrigtsen, who had moved up to 15th, passed the rest of the field over the next 150 meters and would squeeze the pace down over the final 1000 meters.

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To the naked eye, it was hard to appreciate the damage Ingebrigtsen was doing until the final 200. At that point, Ingebrigtsen had opened a gap of a meter and a half to Great Britain’s Neil Gourley (2nd at ’23 Euro indoors, 3:47 for 4th in ’24 Bowerman Mile) and France’s Azeddine Habz (Marrakech Diamond League winner on May 19), the two men considered most likely to challenge Ingebrigtsen here. But as Ingebrigtsen continued to accelerate over the final 200, running his final half-lap in 26.11 to open a 10-meter gap by the finish, those two men crumbled, fading to 7th (Habz, 3:33.70) and 9th (Gourley, 3:34.11).

In truth, the final 100 meters was two races. Ingebrigtsen in a class of his own, followed by everyone else kicking for silver. In a surprise, that silver went to Jochem Vermeulen, only 3rd in last year’s Belgian championships, who ran a pb of 3:33.30 after passing six men in the final 100. Italy’s Pietro Arese took the bronze in 3:33.34 to continue a fine meet for the host nation.

But this race was about Ingebrigtsen, who conducted a virtuoso performance from the front with a spectacular 1:50.56 final 800 meters, with each 200 faster than the one that preceded it: 29.12-28.10-27.23-26.11.

Watch it for yourself:


1. Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN 19 SEP 2000 NOR 3:31.95
2. Jochem VERMEULEN 02 AUG 1998 BEL 3:33.30
3. Pietro ARESE 08 OCT 1999 ITA 3:33.34
4. Ruben VERHEYDEN 22 DEC 2000 BEL 3:33.40
5. Adel MECHAAL 05 DEC 1990 ESP 3:33.58
6. Raphael PALLITSCH 18 DEC 1989 AUT 3:33.60
7. Azeddine HABZ 19 JUL 1993 FRA 3:33.70
8. Robert FARKEN 20 SEP 1997 GER 3:33.98
9. Neil GOURLEY 07 FEB 1995 GBR 3:34.11
10. Isaac NADER 17 AUG 1999 POR 3:34.22
11. Romain MORNET 08 NOV 1997 FRA 3:34.33
12. Adam FOGG 27 JAN 1999 GBR 3:34.44
13. Andrew COSCORAN 18 JUN 1996 IRL 3:34.76
14. Ossama MESLEK 08 JAN 1997 ITA 3:36.35
15. Federico RIVA 09 NOV 2000 ITA 3:37.37
16. Ignacio FONTES 22 JUN 1998 ESP 3:45.80

Quick Take: This race could not have gone any more smoothly for Ingebrigtsen

The 1500 in Rome was a man against boys

This is exactly how Ingebrigtsen likes to run. He was able to get to the front by 550m and no one fought him for the lead, so he could expend his energy evenly by smoothly accelerating throughout the race. Eventually, Ingebrigtsen upped the pace to a point where it ran the kick out of everyone in the field but him.

This race was basically a carbon copy of Ingebrigtsen’s victory in the 2022 Euro final. The difference is, he was even better tonight. Two years ago, Ingebrigtsen ran 3:32.76 and blasted away from everyone with a 27.14 final 200 as part of a 55.24 last lap. Tonight, he ran 3:31.95 with a 26.11 last 200 and 53.34 last lap.

Running 3:31 from the front in a championship final is very impressive, particularly considering Ingebrigtsen won the 5,000 four days earlier. He made it look easy and will have to be happy with how he closed. That said…

Quick Take: The Olympics will present a bigger challenge (obviously)

The strategy Ingebrigtsen used today is similar to the one he employed at the 2022 World Indoors and 2023 World Outdoors, where he was outkicked on the last lap. Does the fact that he was able to win today using that front-running strategy change anything? Not really. We already knew Ingebrigtsen was capable of winning from the front when he was the best guy in the field by a wide margin. The problem for Ingebrigtsen comes when he tries to front-run against guys who were close to him in ability. And the guys who are close to Jakob in ability right now were not in this race.

Consider: world champ Josh Kerr, who beat Ingebrigtsen at Pre, skipped this meet. Yared Nuguse, who was .62 behind Ingebrigtsen at Pre, is American. Timothy Cheruiyot, who pushed Ingebrigtsen to the line in Oslo, is Kenyan.

To be able to front-run your way to victory in a championship, you have to be around 1.5-2 seconds better than everyone else to counteract the benefits of drafting. Well let’s look at the 1500m season’s bests of tonight’s field:

3:28.89 Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Eugene, May 25
3:30.80 Azeddine Habz, Oslo, May 30
3:30.84 Isaac Nader, Oslo, May 30
3:30.87 Neil Gourley, Eugene, May 25
3:32.13 Pietro Arese, Oslo, May 30

So Ingebrigtsen had a gap of two seconds to the next-best guy. Consider that he beat Gourley by 2.14 seconds in the Bowerman Mile and beat him again by 2.16 seconds tonight — though Gourley had a bad race today (perhaps Gourley’s injury-enforced lack of base mileage hurt him when it came to running a prelim and a final in the span of three days at Euros).

This is not meant as a knock on Ingebrigtsen. He made a bunch of 3:30 guys look like high schoolers over the final 100 meters. That is incredibly impressive. But the fact is, Josh Kerr is a lot better than anyone Ingebrigtsen raced tonight. What would have happened if he was in the field? We won’t have to wait long to find out. The Olympic 1500m final is less than eight weeks away.

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