Ayanleh Souleiman winning the Dream Mile at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oslo (© Mark Shearman)
This year’s ExxonMobil Bislett Games in Oslo celebrates the 50th Anniversary Dream Mile and the director of the IAAF Diamond League meeting, Steinar Hoen, has assembled what is arguably the deepest and most highly-regarded mile field ever seen in the famous Bislett Stadium.
The field announced on Wednesday (29) includes two Olympic champions, seven athletes who have run faster than 3:50 for the mile and no fewer than seven men who are their national record-holder at either the mile or 1500m.
Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop is the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and has twice been a 1500m world champion plus is a three-time winner of the Dream Mile. He is returning to Oslo seeking a fast time.
Another Olympic champion is Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi, who was a dominant winner of the 1500m at the 2012 Olympics. He will be keen to not only win this prestigious race but establish a personal best faster than 3:50.
Interestingly, Makhloufi is a previous winner in Bislett stadium but not in the Dream Mile. In 2012, he emphatically won the 1500m early in the programme and gave spectators a real indication of what was to follow later that summer in London.
Another athlete to be feared in this race is Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti, who has won the past two Dream Miles and would like to make it three in a row in 2015. He has a personal best of 3:47.28 for the distance.
Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat led the world over 1500m in 2014, with a best of 3:27.64, and boasts a great mile best of 3:47.88.
But the honour of being the fastest 1500m man in the field goes to the US veteran Bernard Lagat, who has a best time of 3:27.28.
He may not achieve a time of that quality in 2015 but Lagat is serious about smashing the world masters’ best for the mile and is aiming to be close to 3:50 for the four laps.
Like in 2014, many eyes in the stadium will be focused upon Norway’s Henrik Ingebrigtsen, who last season rewrote the Norwegian record book at both the mile and 1500m.
A silver medallist at last year’s European Championships, Ingebrigtsen will be chasing another Norwegian record and will not be satisfied with anything slower than 3:50.
Kenya will have two further men on the start line: the surprising junior from last season, Ronald Kwemoi, and Commonwealth Games champion James Magut. Both men can have impact in a race of this nature.
Over the years, some of the Bislett Games’ greatest highlights have occurred in the Dream Mile.
The British trio of Seb Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram all shattered the world record for the mile in the Bislett stadium.
In 1979, Coe led a strong field home and the first 10 men all ran faster than four minutes while Cram’s scintillating last lap in his epic encounter with Coe in 1985 produced a long-standing world record of 3:46.32.
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2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September