Jordan Invitational — A Good Night For Norway’s Ingebrigtsen Brothers

Precocious teen Jakob Ingebrigtsen turned back Olympic champion Centrowitz among others in the 1500. (DON GOSNEY)

Stanford, California, May 03—While Stanford’s annual Payton Jordan Invitational distance extravaganza played out less extravagantly than in some past years due to the absence of an imperative for athletes to chase World or Olympic qualifying marks in the “off year,” the meet nonetheless delivered 4 U.S.-leading marks and 3 collegiate leaders.

Two of the three brothers Ingebrigtsen of Stavanger, Norway, however, put on a stupendous show that father Gjert will certainly add to the family highlight film if he had time to video his sons’ races during a busy evening of competition coaching.

Prime focus here went not to ’17 World Champs 1500 bronze medalist Filip Ingebrigtsen—who is also the reigning Euro champ—but first to the baby of the bunch, 17-year-old Jakob, who last summer ran the fastest mile ever by a 16-year-old (3:56.29).

Lined up for the 1500 in Jordan-normal mid-50s near-motionless air, the teen faced a field that included Olympic champ Matthew Centrowitz and Paul Chelimo, the U.S.’s Rio 5K silver medalist.

This early in the pro season, the pacing from two rabbits was more tuned to rust removal and domestic qualifying than records of any stripe—3:38–3:39 tempo through 1200 (2:42.8 for pacer Daniel Herrera).

The racers never pursued Herrera with vim or vigor but with 300 left the chase for the line was on as Chelimo and Centro moved up front down the backstretch. Young Ingebrigtsen, however, had a clear inside line and just before 200-to-go rushed into the lead and away.

The teen entered the last turn 2m ahead of Chelimo, with Centrowitz showing more rust to bust, and built his margin to more than 5m at the finish for a 3:39.06–3:40.16 win over the U.S. Army’s star.

Behind Ingebrigtsen’s 55.24 finish, Centro’s Nike Oregon Project mate Eric Jenkins grabbed 3rd in 3:40.28 (56.09 last lap) as Colby Alexander 4th (4th in 3:40.42, 55.90 final circuit) and Craig Engels (5th in 3:40.45, 55.83) also displayed early sharpness.

Coming down for his first outdoor race of the year from an altitude camp in Flagstaff, Ingebrigtsen said, “I was actually expecting someone to pick up the pace a little bit and starting to run fast it seemed like they were tired, all of them so I just decided to go inside of Chelimo and I started running [for] the finishline.”

The precocious Norwegian became the youngest-ever sub-4:00 miler with his 3:58.07 at last year’s Pre Classic and went on to win Euro Junior titles in the steeple and 5000 before making an appearance in the Worlds steeple heats in London (8:34.88).

He has run beyond his years against elite adults. Is he now ready to start beating them? “I’m probably not winning the most difficult ones,” he said, “but at least I’m running faster than I have done before and probably will be able to compete with the best guys.”

Jakob’s target for ’18 “is to get to the final in the [Euro Champs] 1500 so if I manage to do that I’ll probably hope for something even bigger but I’m just really looking forward to racing this season.”



To the question of how he stays on track academically during training stints, spring and fall, in Flagstaff, he explained, “I actually have a teacher with me so I have done all of my exams in Flagstaff, altitude training, so it’s kind of working.”

He added, “[Education is] always important, but for me the running is 1000 times more important than school. I can go to school when I’m 30 or 40 but now I’m running.”

After his victory here, Jakob’s next priority was watching brothers Filip and Henrik—27 years old and the ’12 European 1500 titlist—race the 5000, where collegiate fans were eyeing NCAA cross country winner Justyn Knight of Syracuse and Andy Trouard, the Northern Arizona senior who bested the Canadian in the indoor 3000.

At the 3K marker here, Knight (8:04.2) led Utah State’s Dillon Maggard and a large contingent of followers (32 had started the race) at 13:20 pace.

Acceleration from there would have put WC finalist Knight into picking range of his PR, 13.17.51 from this meet last year, but the pack stayed congested and the likely outcome thoroughly opaque.

The London-medalist Ingebrigtsen, Filip, stepped off in the eighth lap. Eldest brother Henrik lurked in the ruck.

At the bell, Italian Yeman Crippa, Europe’s U23 champion last year, led from Knight, Brazilian Altobelli da Silva (a Rio steeple finalist) and Henrik Ingebrigtsen, who had joined the contenders a lap earlier.

On the backstretch miler Ingebrigtsen unleashed an unanswered burst of speed and took the lead. Make that nearly unanswered.

U.S. miler Riley Masters, owner of a 13:17.97 PR from this meet in ’15, was sprinting even harder—to the tune of a 55.51 last lap. In the final strides it appeared Oklahoma alum Masters would overtake Ingebrigtsen but they stopped the clock together at a world-leading 13:16.97.

Win to the Norwegian, by 0.005. Knight 3rd in 13:18.74—a nice follow to his 3:36 in the Clay 1500 two weeks earlier—and Trouard 5th, his 13:21.07 PR an American Collegiate leader.

France’s 3-time Olympic steeple medalist Mahiedine Mekhissi placed 4th (13:20.53) in what was apparently his 5000 debut.

Huge night for the Ingebrigtsens? “Yeah, at least two of us did a good job,” said Henrik. “Me and Jakob did pretty good tactical races, and for a 17-year-old Jakob is running like he’s 28 so he’s really improved his tactics and become a more complete runner this year.”



Added the winner, whose previous 5K best came in the same race as Masters’ 3 years ago, “If the pace is slowly increasing, that’s how we [milers] run the fastest 5K—because we can’t run fast steady. I could probably not run 13:16 pace from the start; I would blow up with 1K to go and I would lose 5 seconds maybe in the end. So this way is probably best for me.”

Asked where the Ingebrigtsen track saga began, Henrik said, “My father was never a runner at all. Probably the furthest from it. He started coaching me in 2012. After I qualified for the Olympics, that’s when he took over, or more or less 2 months before that.

“Our success started in Flagstaff, actually. I was there by myself sleeping on a pullout couch at my friend’s house and then I came down here and ran 3:36, a new National Record, at Payton Jordan 2012. So that was the start of our family running success.”

Historically, the Jordan meet is best known for its 10Ks. This time, Americans Shadrack Kipchirchir and Jessica Tonn took the wins, both with U.S.-list-leading marks.

Kipchirchir—the Kenyan-born ’14 Oklahoma State grad who represented the U.S. in Rio (19th in the 10K) and the ’17 World Champs (9th)—looked like he might run away from his pursuers from lap 13 to 20.

But not without a challenge. Belgium’s Soufiane Bouchikhi reeled him in before Kipchirchir’s 58.87 last lap brought a 27:39.65–27:41.20, a PR by 25.95 for the Belgian.

“It felt great,” said Kipchirchir, not visibly taxed by the effort and well off his 27:07.55 best from the Worlds, “I came here to run fast.” For PR-fast, maybe next year. For the upcoming USATF Champs, the former Army athlete now representing Nike said he will point at the 5000.

Tonn, a ’15 Stanford grad now with the Brooks Beasts (see sidebar), found her homecoming to be a redemptive race—and her 31:54.83 time a PR by more than 2:00 as she bested Sarah Pagano (31:56.43), Canada’s Rachel Cliff (31:56.86), Chelsea Blaase (31:57.56) and Japan’s Mao Ichiyama (31:57.91) with a 68.57 last lap and final 200 around 32 seconds.

Joining Tonn as an emerging force on the U.S. scene was ’14 Georgetown grad Rachel Schneider. Heretofore a miler primarily, in the 5000 here she raced Sweden’s Rio 1500 finalist Meraf Bahta all the way to the line. Bahta’s 15:15.33 held off Schneider by 0.55 but the American’s time was a personal best by more than 17 seconds.


JORDAN INVITATIONAL MEN’S RESULTS

Stanford, California, May 03—

800: 1. Ryan Martin (AsicsFE) 1:47.26; 2. Brannon Kidder (BrkB) 1:47.47.

1500: 1. Jakob Ingebrigtsen’ (Nor) 3:39.06 PR (55.24); 2. Paul Chelimo (USAr) 3:40.16 (56.50); 3. Eric Jenkins (NikOP) 3:40.28 (56.09); 4. Colby Alexander (HokaNJNY) 3:40.42 (55.90); 5. Craig Engels (NikOP) 3:40.45 (55.83); 6. Matthew Centrowitz (Nik) 3:40.74 (56.74); 7. *Grant Fisher (Stan) 3:41.24 PR (57.61); 8. Hiroki Matsueda’ (Jpn) 3:41.28 PR; 9. Sean McGorty (Stan) 3:41.49.

St: I–1. Ole Hesselbjerg’ (Swe) 8:30.82; 2. Osama Zoghlami’ (Ita) 8:31.14;

3. Dylan Blankenbaker (adi) 8:31.43 (AL);

4. David Goodman (BouTC) 8:33.58 PR; 5. Jordan Mann (NBal) 8:35.07 PR; 6. Craig Nowak (AsicsFE) 8:35.14 PR; 7. Jose Pena’ (Ven) 8:35.89; 8. Abdelhamid Zerrifi’ (Alg) 8:36.18; 9. Brandon Doughty (unat) 8:39.48; 10. Frankline Tonui (USAr) 8:39.50; 11. ***Matt Owens (BYU) 8:39.94; 12. *Simon Grannetia’ (Port) 8:40.07 PR.

II–1. *Emmanuel Rotich’ (Tul) 8:40.66; 2. *Daniel Carney (BYU) 8:41.22 PR; 3. **Clayson Shumway (BYU) 8:41.49 PR; 4. Emil Blomberg’ (Swe) 8:46.27; 5. Gatien Airiau’ (AArt) 8:46.82.

5000: 1. Henrik Ingebrigtsen’ (Nor) 13:16.97 PR (WL) (56.28); 2. Riley Masters (Nik) 13:16.97 PR (=WL; AL) (55.51); 3. Justyn Knight’ (Syr) 13:18.74 (CL) (58.19);

4. Yeman Crippa’ (Ita) 13:18.83 PR (58.48); 5. Mahiedine Mekhissi’ (Fra) 13:20.53 PR (57.86);

6. Andy Trouard (NnAz) 13:21.07 PR (AmCL) (7, x AmC) (59.34);

7. Isaac Kimeli’ (Bel) 13:21.09 PR; 8. Tommy Curtin (SaucF) 13:23.11 PR; 9. Altobeli Da Silva’ (Bra) 13:23.85 PR; 10. Lawi Lalang (USAr) 13:24.09; 11. Chris Thompson’ (GB) 13:25.29; 12. Hillary Bor (USAr) 13:26.81 PR; 13. Luc Bruchet’ (Can) 13:27.94; 14. Jack Bruce’ (Ar) 13:28.57 PR; 15. Dillon Maggard (UtSt) 13:30.02 PR; 16. Henry Wynne (BrkB) 13:30.43 PR; 17. Jordan Gusman’ (Aus) 13:35.76 PR; 18. *Clayton Young (BYU) 13:37.60 PR; 19. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot’ (Can) 13:39.31; 20. Adam Visokay’ (GB) 13:41.29 PR; 21. Jose Juan Esparza’ (Mex) 13:41.53; 22. Andy Heyes’ (GB) 13:46.34 PR;… dnf—Filip Ingebrigtsen’ (Nor).

10,000: 1. Shadrack Kipchirchir (Nik) 27:39.65 (AL) (58.87);

2. Soufiane Bouchikhi’ (Bel) 27:41.20 PR (59.93); 3. Francois Barrer’ (Fra) 27:55.95 PR; 4. Garrett Heath (BrkB) 27:56.11 PR;

5. **Tyler Day (NnAz) 28:04.44 PR (CL);

6. Noah Droddy (SaucRRP) 28:07.88 PR; 7. *Connor McMillan (BYU) 28:09.55 PR; 8. Matthew Baxter’ (NnAz) 28:10.05 PR; 9. Luis Ostos’ (Per) 28:12.05; 10. Scott Fauble (HokaNAz) 28:13.07; 11. Ben Connor’ (GB) 28:14.56 PR; 12. Ivan Gonzalez’ (Col) 28:19.94 PR; 13. Brendan Gregg (Hans) 28:22.28; 14. Samuel Barata’ (Por) 28:24.85 PR; 15. Simon Debognies’ (Bel) 28:25.32 PR; 16. Jonathan Green (Gtn) 28:36.44 PR; 17. *Rory Linkletter’ (BYU) 28:43.51 PR; 18. Joe Stilin (Zap) 28:47.78 PR; 19. Seth Totten (rabSRA) 29:00.58 PR; 20. Craig Lautenslager’ (NZ) 29:05.99; 21. Matt McClintock (Zap) 29:07.88.

JORDAN INVITATIONAL WOMEN’S RESULTS

800: 1. Lindsey Butterworth’ (Can) 2:03.33; 2. Chrishuna Williams (Nik) 2:03.35; 3. Jenna Westaway’ (Can) 2:03.50; 4. Lauren Johnson (BAA) 2:04.13; 5. Ashley Taylor’ (NnAz) 2:04.48; 6. Cory McGee (NBal) 2:04.84; 7. Alethia Marrero’ (AzSt) 2:04.99.

1500: 1. Sara Vaughn (NYAC) 4:11.70 (64.68); 2. **Christina Aragon (Stan) 4:12.28 (65.06); 3. Claudia Saunders (Dist) 4:12.38 PR (64.85); 4. Dana Giordano (Reeb) 4:12.88 (65.19); 5. Nicole Tully (HokaNJNY) 4:13.33; 6. Hanna Hermansson’ (Swe) 4:13.77 PR; 7. Elise Cranny (Stan) 4:14.73; 8. Carina Viljoen’ (Ar) 4:16.19.

St: 1. Marie Bouchard’ (USF) 9:41.32 PR; 2. **Charlotte Prouse’ (NM) 9:50.47; 3. Lizzie Bird’ (GB) 9:53.59 PR; 4. *Maddie Cannon (BYU) 10:07.52 PR; 5. Susan Tanui (USAr) 10:10.23 PR; 6. **Gabrielle Jennings (Furm) 10:10.41 PR; 7. **Olivia Hoj (BYU) 10:25.45.

5000: I–1. Meraf Bahta’ (Swe) 15:15.33 (63.45);

2. Rachel Schneider (UArm) 15:15.88 PR (out AL) (64.14);

3. Kate Van Buskirk’ (Can) 15:16.34 PR (64.11); 4. Linn Nilsson’ (Swe) 15:18.14 PR; 5. Katie Mackey (BrkB) 15:18.88; 6. Maureen Koster’ (Hol) 15:19.61;

7. *Ednah Kurgat’ (NM) 15:20.06 PR (CL);

8. Yui Fukuda’ (Jpn) 15:20.08 PR; 9. Vanessa Fraser (Stan) 15:20.10 PR; 10. ***Weini Kelati’ (NM) 15:22.71 PR; 11. Rina Nabeshima’ (Jpn) 15:22.78; 12. Stephanie Garcia (NBal) 15:23.71; 13. Amy-Eloise Neale’ (Wa) 15:24.16 PR; 14. Margherita Magnani’ (Ita) 15:25.44 PR; 15. Nicole Sifuentes’ (Can) 15:27.82; 16. Emelia Gorecka’ (GB) 15:30.59; 17. Katrina Coogan (NBalB) 15:30.70 PR; 18. **Allie Ostrander (Boise) 15:45.41 (fell); 19. Mel Lawrence (Ois) 15:46.01; 20. Alice Wright’ (NM) 15:56.57.

II–1. *Caroline Kurgat’ (AkA) 15:41.21 PR (74.69); 2. *Paige Stoner (Syr) 15:41.26 PR (71.61); 3. Muriel Coneo’ (Col) 15:51.74; 4. ***Emily Venters (Boise) 15:54.46; 5. Eleanor Fulton (HPW) 16:00.68 PR; 6. **Savannah Carnahan (Furm) 16:02.49.

10,000: 1. Jessica Tonn (BrkB) 31:54.83 PR (AL) (68.57);

2. Sarah Pagano (BAA) 31:56.43 PR (70.13); 3. Rachel Cliff’ (Can) 31:56.86 PR (70.44); 4. Chelsea Blaase (Hans) 31:57.56 PR (71.04); 5. Mao Ichiyama’ (Jpn) 31:57.91(71.05); 6. Carolina Tabares’ (Col) 32:29.35; 7. Rachel Johnson (AsicsFE) 32:32.84 PR; 8. Anne-Marie Blaney (Hans) 32:57.88 PR; 9. Natsuki Omori’ (Jpn) 32:57.95 PR; 10. Emily Durgin (NBalB) 32:59.75 PR; 11. Bridget Lyons (AtlTC) 33:05.91 PR; 12. Tatiane Raquel Da Silva’ (Bra) 33:16.17 PR; 13. Olivia Pratt (Hans) 33:23.45; 14. Ai Hosoda’ (Jpn) 33:46.36; 15. Beverly Ramos’ (PR) 33:55.68.

PV: 1. **Kaitlyn Merritt (Stan) 14-½ (4.28) PR.

HT: 1. Valarie Allman (Stan) 208-2 (63.46) PR.