Record breaker Ingebrigtsen turns his gaze towards Europeans

Record breaker Ingebrigtsen turns his gaze towards Europeans
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Henrik Ingebrigtsen of Norway defeats Thomas Farrell of Great Britain to win the men's 5000m final of the European Athletics U23 Championships Tampere 2013.

When you are a 3:31 1500m runner, how do you find the pacemakers who can go fast enough to give you a good workout? The answer for European champion Henrik Ingebrigtsen is to ask your brothers to get on their bikes.

“They cycle in front of us so that we can go faster in our training,” explains Henrik referring to his brother Filip and himself who will both be in Zurich pitching for medals.

In that sense the whole family is involved because the brothers are coached by their father, Gjert, and the biking siblings are the pacemakers.

The proof that the system works is in the results as Henrik lowered the Norwegian record to an impressive 3:31.46 a week ago in Monaco for his second national 1500m record of the summer by the startling margin of over two seconds.

In 2014 there have also been two more records over the mile to add to his metric exploits.

The 23 year old who shot to prominence two years ago when he sprinted to the European title is not surprisingly brimming with confidence with the defence of his continental title at hand.

“No one makes more demands of me than I do myself,” he told after his record run in the Principality.

And that includes looking forward to Zurich: “I am running so fast now that I am not particularly bothered about any of the others who will be at the championships.”

For the record, there are two others who have run almost as fast this season that he may have to worry about: Homiyu Tesfaye of Germany and Turkey’s Ilham Tanui Özbilen.

While Özbilen has never finished in front of the Norwegian in their four clashes, Ingebrigtsen’s record against Tesfaye stands at a more tantalising two-two. So Zurich will be the decider in that particular battle for the time being.

Since setting his first outright national record in 2010, Ingebrigtsen has gone from strength to strength, slashing chunks out of his personal bests on his route to the top.

Ever since he broke through the 3:40 barrier as a 19 year old he has set no fewer than six Norwegian records for the metric mile and hacked close to nine seconds off his best.

“I have taken a big step up to the world’s elite this season,” averred the man from Sandnes. “It won’t be easy to follow this up over the rest of the season but I don’t feel that I have reached my ceiling by any means.”

Between Monaco and Zurich, Ingebrigtsen will spend his time preparing for the European Athletics Championships at altitude in St Moritz.

“I’m fitter and stronger than ever,” noted the Norwegian who also collected full points for Norway in Tallinn last month over 3000m as his country returned to the European Athletics Team Championships Super League at the first time of asking.

“I have done the work. I am exactly where I want to be. I am going to enjoy the form I am in right now. I cannot keep on chasing record after record,” he concluded.

Precisely. The time for records is over for the present. Now it is a question of defending his title in Zurich.