Norwegian clocks 4:43.13 at the Diamond League in Brussels to beat Moroccan’s mark from 1999
Hicham El Guerrouj’s records are hardly soft. His 1500m mark of 3:26.00 has stood since 1998, his one mile time of 3:43.13 since 1999 and his 2000m best of 4:44.79 was also set in ’99.
The Moroccan’s marks have stood the test of time, but Jakob Ingebrigtsen smashed the 2000m record on Friday (Sept 8) in Brussels by 1.66sec with a magnificent 4:43.13.
No doubt keen to stamp his authority on the middle-distance world again after his defeat to Britain’s Josh Kerr in Budapest, Ingebrigtsen finished five seconds clear of his rivals and raised his finger triumphantly after he crossed the line as if to say “I’m No.1!”
Ingebrigtsen, who already held the European record with 4:50.01 from Oslo in 2020, had three pacemakers plus Wavelight technology to help keep him on course to break El Guerrouj’s mark. Mounir Akbache led through the first lap in 56.67 and the second in 56.77 (about 1:53.4 at 800m) as Ingebrigtsen was a couple of metres behind in fourth behind the other hares Boaz Kiprugut and Cornelius Tuwei of Kenya.
Kiprugut passed the kilometre mark in 2:22.28 before stepping aside with the third lap in 57.35. Tuwei then hit the front and the fourth lap was 57.33 although he pulled out with 650m to go, at which point Ingebrigtsen was on his own.
After seemingly struggling to stay with the pace a little mid-race, Ingbrigtsen now looked strong and began to edge ahead of the Wavelight that was illustrating El Guerrouj’s pace from 24 years earlier. His rivals were also dropped and there was only going to be one winner.
Passing the bell in an incredible 3:48.1 compared to El Guerrouj’s 3:49.6, Ingebrigtsen began to pour it on and finished with a flourish to smash the Moroccan’s record.
After setting a two miles world best of 7:54.10 earlier this year in Paris, it means it is his second world record or best of 2023.
“It’s always fun to break a record,” said Ingebrigtsen. “This one qualifies as a world record and not as a world’s best. I know I was able to break this one, but I had some kind of virus 10 days ago and I didn’t really know how I would be feeling today. However I felt really good and ran a good race.
“To be honest this record wasn’t a difficult one for me. Sure, when you have to do it alone, it’s really tough, but I got great help from the pacemakers and they were able to help me more than I expected.”
Behind, Reynold Cheruiyot ran a Kenyan record of 4:48.14. In third, Stewart McSweyn of Australia clocked an Oceania record of 4:48.77. Teenage prodigy Niels Laros ran a Dutch record of 4:49.68 in fourth. Mario Garcia clocked a Spanish record of 4:49.85, just ahead of world 1500m bronze medallist Narve Nordås, the Norwegian running 4:50.64.
The 2000m is of course a relatively rarely run event but there were more records, too, with Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Canada clocking a North American record of 4:51.54, while Ruben Verheyden ran a Belgium record of 4:52.37.
The much-publicised attempt on Florence Griffith Joyner’s world 200m record ended in a near miss, though, as Shericka Jackson of Jamaica clocked 21.48 (0.2) compared to Griffith Joyner’s 21.34 from 1988.
Still, it was a Diamond League and meeting record from Jackson as she ran only slightly slower than the 21.41 she clocked to win the world title in Budapest.
Daryll Neita of Britain was fourth in 22.59.
“I definitely feel like I’m getting there, closer to that record,” said Jackson. “But it’s also important to have some fun and I really had fun tonight.”
Another world record attempt, meanwhile, came from Mondo Duplantis but after three failed tries at 6.23m he had to be content with victory in 6.10m.
In the women’s 1500m, Britain’s Laura Muir produced a brilliant late-season victory with 3:55.34 to hold off a spirited challenge from Ciara Mageean, who ran an Irish record of 3:55.87.
In third, Nelly Chepchirchir of Kenya ran 3:56.94 with Australian Jess Hull fourth followed by Britain’s Katie Snowden in 3:58.03, then Hirut Meshesha of Ethiopia and Melissa Courtney-Bryant narrowly missing her Welsh record with 3:58.09.
The three Brits are now due to race in New York City in the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on Sunday.
“It was a close race with Ciara,” said Muir. “I know her very well and she always gets me in the last 100m. Today I kept an eye on her and I was able to find that extra bit of gear in the final part of the race. I felt a little disappointed after the World Championships. I was in great shape, but unfortunately I had not my best day at the most important race of the year. But that’s sport.”
In this penultimate Diamond League meeting of the year, Zharnel Hughes also ran superbly with 19.82 (-0.1) – his second fastest ever time – in the men’s 200m despite struggling with a cold during the week. However, American Kenny Bednarek had too much for him as he ran 19.79 to win.
Another world champion in superb form was Haruka Kitaguchi as she set a Japanese javelin record and world lead of 67.38m.
Elsewhere, Yaroslava Mahuchukh of Ukraine won the women’s high jump with 2.00m as Britain’s Morgan Lake was fifth with 1.91m.
Femke Bol, meanwhile, was a class apart in the women’s 400m hurdles as she coasted to a meet record of 52.11.
Elaine Thompson-Herah continued her fine late-season form with a women’s 100m win in 10.84 (0.0) ahead of fellow Jamaican Natasha Morrison’s 10.95 with Dina Asher-Smith of Britain finishing third in 10.97.
In the 10,000m at the start of the programme, Britain’s Andy Butchart clocked 28:11.60 in sixth behind Daniel Ebenyo of Kenya, who ran 26:57.80 to win.
Vicky Ohuruogu and Laviai Nielsen ran 50.81 and 50.84 for fourth and sixth respectively in a women’s 400m won by Cynthia Bolingo of Belgium on home soil in 50.09, while in the men’s 400m B race another Brit, Lewis Davey, ran a PB of 45.82 in sixth.
In the men’s 800m, Dan Rowden and Ben Pattison wound up fourth and fifth in 1:44.12 and 1:44.32 respectively in a race won by Djamel Sedjati of Algeria in 1:43.60.
On a busy night for British athletes, Jess Warner-Judd ran a PB, too, in the women’s 5000m of 14:51.53 to place eighth in a race won by Lilian Rengeruk of Kenya in 14:26.46.
» Special offer – buy our World Champs review issue for only £1 here