Certain races on the track are “standard“ distances so they are contested at almost every major track and field competition.
For middle distance and distance races, this includes events like the 800m, 1500m, mile, 5000m, and 10,000-meter runs.
Due to the popularity and frequency in which these major track distances are contested, we often don’t see major improvements in world record times. Even shaving just fractions of a second off some of the track running world records can be extremely impressive.
This is not to say that when a less common track event is staged and a new world record is set that it is any less valid or noteworthy.
In fact, it can actually be even more exciting to see the race performances and world record progressions when the event is less common.
At the 2023 Meeting de Paris (Paris Diamond League Track and Field meet), spectators had the opportunity to watch one of these latter situations—elite runners racing in a less common track race and a major world record-setting performance.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen, a Norwegian runner, smashed the 2-mile world record to finish in 7:54.10.
This works out to a blistering pace of just a hair under 3:57 per mile. Imagine running two sub-four-minute miles back to back!
Ingebrigtsen’s new 2-mile world record broke the existing time of 7:58.61 set by Kenya’s Daniel Komen.
Harkening back to the fact that the 2-mile race is not one of the most common track events, Komen’s previous “2-mile world record“ was officially designated as “world best” since World Athletics (the official governing body for the sport of track and field) does not recognize a 2-mile world record).
What’s more, Ingebrigtsen’s 2-mile record took down a running record that had stood for 26 years.
Spectators who had the opportunity to watch Jakob Ingebrigtsen win the 2-mile event at the 2023 Meeting de Paris were able to keep tabs on the status of Ingebrigtsen’s performance in pursuit of the world record as there were green pacing lights on the inside of the rail of the track at Stade Charléty.
This also was a useful tool for Jakob Ingebrigtsen to gauge his pace relative to staying ahead of the current world record pace.
Ingebrigtsen was paced by athlete Kyumbe Munguti, who had his own set of blue lights to help guide a sub-world record pace.
As the race unfolded, Ingebrigtsen ran in sync with the green pacing lights for the first 1600, which had him coming through in 3:58.9. This was on pace with the existing world record.
Then, between 1600m and 1800m, Ingebrigtsen picked up his pace to join Munguti in following the blue pacing lights until Munguti stepped off the track at 2100 meters.
This is around the point at which Jakob Ingebrigtsen not only took the race into his own hands literally without the pacer, but also truly started “racing“ the clock and showing his superior dominance in the event.
With one lap to go, Ingebrigtsen passed through in 6:58, looking strong, determined, and fierce.
By the time he hit 3000 meters on the back stretch, Ingebrigtsen was ahead of all of the lights, making it clear that this was going to be a world-record performance barring any unforeseen circumstances in the final 200 meters.
In fact, his 3000-meter split was 7:24:07, which actually puts Ingebrigtsen number three on the all-time outdoor 3,000m time list.
His final lap was an extremely-impressive 55 seconds, which allowed him to shatter the existing record as he finished in 7:54.10.
The enthusiastic spectators rose to their feet to honor Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s incredible performance with a standing ovation.
One remarkable thing about this race performance was not just the overall time and shattering the world record, but the race execution itself.
Ingebrigtsen ran fantastic negative splits in the race (the second half of the race faster than the first half) because he came through the first 1600 meters in 3:58.9 and ran the second 1600-meter split to the 3200m mark in just 3:52.2.
Knocking off more than 6.5 seconds when you are already running so fast is amazing.
This all goes to show that whether you are running a short race like a mile or 2-mile run, or you are running a half marathon or marathon, there’s no need to start out fast. Running negative splits can be a great racing tactic.
Ingebrigtsen is just 22 years old but has already built an impressive running resume.
For example, when he was just 16 years old, Jakob Ingebrigtsen became the youngest runner to ever break 4:00 in the mile.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen also became an Olympic Gold Medallist at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 at the young age of 20.
There, he won the 1500-meter event.
Demonstrative of his range in the middle and long distances on the track, Jakob Ingebrigtsen added his first world title in 2022 when he won the 5000m event as a 21-year-old runner.
A year later, at age 21, he added the world title at 5,000 meters.
It will be exciting to see what is next for Ingebrigtsen.
For more information about race strategies, check out our guide here.