Jakob Ingebrigtsen Sets a World Record in the Indoor 1500 Meters

The Olympic gold-medalist takes nearly half a second off the previous best.

jakob ingebrigtsen
FRANCOIS LO PRESTIGetty Images

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the 21-year-old Norwegian who won Olympic gold last summer in Tokyo in the 1500 meters, has a new accolade to add to his already extensive list of honors: world record-holder.

On a track in Liévin, France, which has a reputation among athletes for being fast, Ingebrigtsen ran the indoor 1500 meters in 3:30.60. He took nearly half a second off the previous mark, 3:31.04, which was set by Samuel Tefera of Ethiopia in 2019.

“Just really happy to be able to run fast, and today was awesome,” Ingebrigtsen said in an interview on the track after the race.

Tefera was also in Thursday’s World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold race, and he gave Ingebrigtsen a good fight until the final 300 meters, when Tefera couldn’t match his rival’s closing speed. In the end, it was just Ingebrigtsen racing against the green lights of the Wavelight technology system, flashing along the inside of the track at world-record pace.

“I like to finish strong,” he said.

Tefera was second in 3:33.70, and Ignacio Fontes of Spain was well back in third in 3:37.39.

jakob ingebrigtsen
Jakob Ingebrigtsen celebrates after setting a world record in the indoor 1500 meters.
FRANCOIS LO PRESTIGetty Images

Ingebrigtsen had near-perfect pacing from two designated rabbits, Julian Ranc of France and 32-year-old Erik Sowinski of the United States, who led through 1,000 meters. Sowinski, who has made a career out of precision pacemaking, was instructed to take the pace out at 2:21 for 1,000 meters. He hit 2:20.90, according to television commentators.

Ingebrigtsen’s previous best in the event was 3:31.80, which he ran at the same meet last year.

In the women’s mile, Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia was expected to make a run at the world indoor mile record (4:13.31, set in 2016 by Genzebe Dibaba), but she fell in the first 100 meters. She got up, kept running and won in 4:21.72, a meet record, but she was visibly frustrated after the race to lose a chance to go for the record.

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