Jakob Ingebrigtsen Becomes 5000m World Champion Two Years In a Row

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On the final day of the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, the long-anticipated finals for the men’s 5000m race finally graced the track.

The women’s 5000m race took place earlier at the World Championships this week.

Unlike the women, the men who had qualified through the 5k rounds had to wait until Sunday, August 27, 2023, to finally put it all on the line for a chance to medal in the 2023 World Championships 5000m final.

If it was your first year watching the World Championships on the track, it may have seemed like a very exciting and novel 5000m race, but for those spectators who watched the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, the men’s 5000m final was in many ways like a rerun of what played out last year.

Not only did the defending 5000m world champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen claim the victory and the gold medal in the 2023 World Athletics Championships men’s 5000m final as he did last year, but he also did so after getting outkicked by a British runner in the 1500m final just like he did at the world track championships in Eugene last year!

Just a couple of days ago, we saw Norwegian superstar runner Jakob Ingebrigtsen suffer a surprising upset in the men’s 1500m World Championships final, when Great Britain’s Josh Kerr pulled an eerily similar move that his fellow British compatriot, Jake Wightman, managed to execute last year at the track World Championships in Eugene.

In both instances, Jake Wightman and now Josh Kerr lay down the hammer on leader Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the final 200m of the 1500m final to pass and then nab the gold medal for Great Britain.

Thus, in back-to-back years, Jakob Ingebrigtsen ended up becoming the silver medal winner in the 1500m, ceding the top podium spot and the lustrous gold medal to a British underdog champion.

However, fortunately for Jakob Ingebrigtsen, a Norwegian runner, world record holder in the 2 mile, and Olympic champion, Ingebrigtsen doesn’t let an upset rattle his confidence during international competitions.

Instead, Ingebrigtsen clearly focused on his prowess on the track and demonstrated his pedigree as being one of the fastest distance runners in the world right now to put whatever disappointing performances he has behind him and start anew every time he takes to the track.

As such, much like last year, Jakob Ingebrigtsen once again became the men’s 5k world champion, making him now the proud owner of both the 2022 and 2023 World Athletics Championships 5,000m gold medalist.

We all love a good comeback story, and Ingebrigtsen’s 5,000m win last night was nothing short of that.

It was a hot night on the track in Budapest, with temperatures around 86°F, so Jakob Ingebrigtsen seemed to take the warm temperatures into consideration when executing his 5000m race plan.

Unlike last year when he surged through the entire final kilometer of the 5000m finals in Eugene, dropping all of his competitors, Ingebrigtsen ran a much more conservative race and didn’t pass the then race leader, Mo Katir of Spain, until the final 10 meters of the 12.5-lap race.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen won the 2023 World Championships men’s 5,000m event in a time of 13:11.30, nearly too close for the naked eye to catch his edge over runner-up finished, Mo Katir, who earned the 5000m silver medal with a time of 13:11.44. 

Third place went to Kenya’s Jacob Krop, who won the silver medal in the men’s 5,000m at the 2022 World Championships.

Jacob Krop posted a finish time of 13:12.28 this year.

Only a handful of men have ever become repeat world champions in the men’s 5000m event, with only three other men joining this esteemed accomplishment prior to Ingebrigtsen.

Kenyan runner Ismael Kirui won the World Championships 5000m event in 1993 and 1995; Great Britain’s superstar Mo Farah was actually a three-time world champion in the 5000m in 2011, 2013, and 2015; and Muktar Edris from Ethiopia took the gold medal in 2017 and 2019.

However, while Ingebrigtsen is the fourth man to pull off such an impressive feat—which may make it seem like it’s not all that impossible—Ingebrigtsen is the first double 5000m men’s world champion who has managed to defend his title by winning the gold medal in back to back years.

Consecutive victories in such a competitive track event at the most elite competition is an absolutely admirable feat.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen commented that he’s had a bit of a tough week at the 2023 World Athletics Championships, as he was a bit under the weather after coming down with a sore throat last Sunday, August 19, early on in the championships in Budapest.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen Becomes 5000m World Champion Two Years In a Row 1

After the 1500m finals on Wednesday night (August 23rd), Ingebrigtsen said the sore throat had mostly resolved but he was still not feeling 100%.

He made similar comments last night after the 5,000m race, saying he still wasn’t feeling that well, and even though you might expect a guy who just won a gold medal (and a silver medal earlier in the week!) to be elated, Ingebrigtsen seemed rather somber in his post-race interviews.

He was likely really wanting to earn gold medals in the 1500m/5000m doubles and post some faster times like he had during the 2023 Diamond League events, but Ingebrigtsen still certainly deserves to be proud of his showing at the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

After the race, Ingebrigtsen took to his Instagram and wrote:

“5000m World Champion! 🏆🇳🇴 This has been a somewhat challenging championship, but I am happy with winning two medals, once again, at the biggest stage in my sport. 🥇🥈🏟️I want to thank the people who is always supporting and believing in me. ❤️”

In terms of Ingebrigtsen’s arguably risky I 5000m race plan to hold off on making a move so late in the race, reportedly, he decided to exercise restraint and bank on his 1500m leg speed to carry him through outkicking his competitors rather than push it for several laps like he did last year because he has been feeling under the weather all week.

He decided that the “sit and kick“ approach would help him conserve energy and hopefully lead to better outcomes than making a power move and then needing to sustain the pace and hold off hungry competitors trying to chase him down by taking the lead earlier on.

In fact, Ingebrigtsen was actually only in fourth place with just over 200m (half a lap) to go in the 2023 World Championships 5000m final whereas he had a decisive lead with about 1000m (2.5 laps) at the 2022 World Athletics Championships men’s 5000m.

However, Jakob Ingebrigtsen wasn’t wrong in his hopes that his kick would be strong enough to overtake even the other fastest 5000m runners in the world, as he ran his final 600 meters in 1:19.90.

His bell lap split for the final 400 meters was a blistering 52.45 seconds, closing the last 200m where he was really making his move for the win in 26.20 seconds.

That’s a serious kick in a 5k race.

To put Ingebrigtsen’s last lap of the 2023 World Championships 5000m finals into context, Ingebrigtsen split 53.76 seconds in his final lap in the men’s 1500m final earlier in the week.

Even though he took second place there, and his overall finish time wasn’t his fastest 1500m performance of 2023, Ingebrigtsen’s 53.76-second final lap split of that race was his fastest bell lap of the year, even faster than races where he posted a better overall 1500m finish time.

Here, in the men’s 5000m World Championships race—an event that is 3.3 times longer than the 1500m distance, Jakob Ingebrigtsen closed over a second faster in the final lap, after running more than eight more laps than he did before his fastest 1500m final lap earlier in the week.

And again, that had been his season-best 400m split for the final lap in the much shorter race. 

Sure, it can be argued that Norwegian Ingebrigtsen was at an advantage to pull off a drop in his 400m split from the 1500m to the 5,000m finals because the 5000m event was notably slow last night, but it is still certainly super impressive.

It also goes to show that you have to be flexible with your race plan or your race strategy depending on how you are feeling, who you are racing against, and your strengths as a runner.

Then, perhaps hardest of all, you have to remain confident in yourself and be comfortable with adjusting your preferred racing strategy when you do need to adjust your tactics in a running race.

The two Americans in the men’s 5000m had tough nights on the track.

Abdihamid Nur finished in 12th place with a time of 13:23.90 and Paul Chelimo came in 15th place with a time of 13:30.88.

You can find full results from the event and all of the completed events at the 2023 World Athletics Championships this past week here.

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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