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News04 Apr 2023

Jakob Ingebrigtsen wants to carve his own legacy in Budapest


Jakob Ingebrigtsen celebrates his Dream Mile performance at the Wanda Diamond League in Oslo (© AFP / Getty Images)

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who is preparing for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, runs 30 percent more than his rivals to become a legend.

In 2018 a 17-year-old Norwegian athlete who came first in both the 1500m and 5000m events in two days at the European Championships in Berlin was a marvel to behold. Jakob Ingebrigtsen has since proved several times that the miracle didn't last just 48 hours. He has set a new world record, become Olympic and world champion, and has also won the Diamond League. He does not know the word impossible and his appetite for more triumphs is growing.  Now he even dares to say that he wants to be the best runner of all time.

The secrets behind his training

Although being one of the most successful athletes of our time, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who at the age of 22 has already won Olympic, World and European titles, did not reveal the secrets of his training method. However, one sentence from him can reveal the reason behind the Norwegian's astonishing achievements. 

"In training, I run thirty percent more and differently than my rivals I meet in competitions," said the athlete.

His Hungarian admirers think that he probably runs the 400 metres 20-25 times in quick succession without any rest. The structure of his training is a kind of national secret in Norway, which can only be described as a modernised and personalised version of the demanding training methods of Mihály Iglói, the legendary coach of the „golden running team” of the 1950s. These methods propelled Sándor Iharos, István Rózsavölgyi, László Tábori and others into the world elite, setting 49 world records and 35 European records.

Irresistible show of force

His runs can sometimes be compared to a stunning show of strength, as even his best prepared rivals have to be content with the second place. So, it does not seem like an exaggeration to say that he is preparing to repeat his Tokyo victory in Paris in 2024 and then in Los Angeles in 2028. 

"I make no secret of my goal which is to achieve the Olympic triple. I am young and strong, a physically and mentally motivated athlete, all of which makes me capable of winning more Olympic Games.  I don't want to sound immodest, but my main goal is to become the best runner of all time, for which I still have a lot of work to do," said Jakob Ingebrigtsen, whose coach and also his brothers’ was his father, Gjert Ingebrigtsen until 2022. Last year he had to give up coaching his sons at the age of 56 due to health problems.

"Over the years I've gained enough experience to get by myself, but luckily I have my brothers who help me a lot and give me the support I need. Whatever I ask them, they know the right answer, and they can also count on me. We are similar in many ways, but we are also different, so our training work cannot be lumped together."

Jakob is a member of a family of seven children, the names of the Ingebrigtsen "organ pipe" are Kristoffer, Henrik, Filip, Martin, Jakob, Ingrid and William. Their father wanted to raise all his children to be athletes, but it wasn’t succeeded. However, it’s still a great achievement that three of them have become recognised figures of middle and long distance running. 

Jakob, born in the year of the 2000 Olympic Games, first became Olympic champion in the 1500m in Tokyo, won the 5000m at last year's World Championships and won silver in the 1500m in a huge battle. It was also a miracle that in 2018, at the age of 17 and in two days (!), he did a double at the Berlin European Championships, winning the 1500m and 5000m, and defended these titles successfully in Munich last year. The icing on the cake: last February he improved the indoor world record in the 1500m with a time of 3:30.60.

Three Ingebrigtsens become European champions

Of his brothers, Henrik has won four European Championship medals in six years, one gold and one bronze each, and two silvers in the 1500m, while Filip won European Championship gold at the same distance in 2016 and finished third at the 2017 World Championships.

"A lot of people ask me if my success is determined by my genetics, my build, or rather my hard work and perseverance. My answer is that it is both, but most of all it is my well-chosen training methods and my mental strength, which really fuels me when it comes to the competition. I have confidence in myself because I know that I still have some energy left in my body, even in the final sprint", continued the athlete, who confidently plans his future. Ingebrigtsen never lies down after his victories, on the contrary, he walks up to every opponent who is more exhausted than him, shakes hands with them, or helps them up...

Naturally, the 22-year-old athlete's life does not consist of only running, training and competitions.

Born to run, he loves his dogs and sports cars

"In my free time, whenever I can, my girlfriend and I organise activities together, often taking my two dogs with us, and I also have a great interest in beautiful and fast sports cars, of which I already have a collection." 

He wants to be even faster, break records, and although he has conquered half the world, he wouldn't give up the other half either.

"I've taken it into my head that I'm going to be the best runner in the world. I feel the power in myself and the fact that I love what I do is what keeps me going. It would be difficult to answer the question of what other sport would suit me if I hadn't chosen athletics as a kid. 

I might have been successful as a cross-country skier, but the beauty and challenge of it didn't appeal to me as much as the medium and long-distance running. I was born to run, it's the best gift I've ever had in my life," said Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who has never been to Hungary. That’s why he is happy that this year’s World Championships will be held in Budapest, in a country where he knows that people love sport.

Péter Szalay

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