Top Names Set to Battle in Prestigious Dream Mile
Norwegian brothers, Filip and Henrik Ingebrigtsen drew plenty of local interest to the pre-event press conference, as the duo spoke confidently on the eve of the prestigious Dream Mile at the Bislett Games.
Filip - the world 1500m bronze medalist - and elder brother Henrik - the 2012 European 1500m champion - both have high hopes for a strong performance in Oslo, with 25-year-old Filip keen to capitalise on her fine 2017 form.
The 2016 European champion over the metric mile recorded a swift 3:53.23 for the mile last summer and with a 3:32.43 1500m lifetime best, the younger Ingebrigtsen sibling has hopes of improving upon Henrik’s 2014 fourth place finish:
“Ever since I saw Henrik race in the Dream Mile, I wanted to join him. It’s a high-quality field with the best guys,” he revealed.
Having not finished a race in the whole of 2018 and yet to open his track campaign, Ingebrigtsen junior does however hold on solid record in the Norwegian capital with fourth place in the 1500m event last year and eighth in the mile in 2016.
After tomorrow, he plans to contest the Stockholm and Paris IAAF Diamond Leagues before tackling both the 1500m and 5,000m at August’s European Championships in Berlin:
“I need to qualify for the 5,000m first but I want to double in Berlin and get another chance of a medal - it will be fun,” he explained.
Henrik meanwhile, will hope to replicate the form that saw him clinch the continental indoor 3,000m silver medal in the winter of 2017, and the 27-year-old holds happy memories from the Bislett event following his popular performance four years ago:
“I am always chasing that feeling as the race was perfect,” he recalled, “the atmosphere was incredible - I could feel it building as I moved through the field, I could feel it helping me.
“I’m not expecting to run that fast but is is great to be part of the long, important tradition.”
In 2014, 2012 Olympic 1500m fifth placer clocked a superb 3:50.72 national record en route to his finest non-championship achievement and he has high hopes of a third Ingebrigtsen brother, Jakob - the European junior 5,000m champion, who will contest the 1500m tomorrow - joining himself and Filip in the Dream Mile event in 2019:
“From the moment I started doing the 1500m, I dreamt about racing in the Dream Mile,” he revealed.
“We hope all three of us can run together next year, we are practising for it now.
“It’s always nice to run in the stadium when it is sold-out - it has a great atmosphere and provides good results so I am looking forward to running tomorrow - I think all of the family will show up.”
The 1500m national record holder with a 3:31.46 run in the 2014 season, Henrik continued, on his aims for Berlin:
“I did the 1500m and 5,000m in the 2016 European’s so I hope to do the double again in Berlin and to do better by preparing well - I will even shave my arms to help me to go faster and to win!”
Fresh from a 8:22.31 two-mile clocking in Eugene and a strong 13:16.97 5,000m lifetime best run to rank tenth in the world, he will realistically aim to match his seventh place positions from the 2015 and 2016 events, before taking to Stockholm and racing over the longer distance in Lausanne.
The pre-race favourite, however, will undoubtedly be Kenya’s world 1500m champion, Elijah Manangoi.
Having claimed the Commonwealth title earlier in the spring, the 25-year-old then opened his summer season was second place over 800m in Doha, third in the mile in Eugene with 3:52.18 to rank third in the world and most recently, took the runner-up spot in Rome over the metric mile.
Manangoi - with a fast 3:28.80 1500m personal best from Monaco last year and a 3:49.08 mile best also from 2017 - spoke of his love of both Oslo and the four-lap event:
“It’s something special here - I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me back - the mile event is very special to me.”
“I was really happy to come back (home) with the Commonwealth gold medal - I then started afresh and I will maintain my form all the way to the IAAF Continental Cup (in Ostrava in September).
“I had bad flu for three weeks after the Commonwealth Games but the plan is to run fast tomorrow (and in Monaco) - my body is responding well so the best things are to come.”
The runner-up in the Dream Mile in 2016 and runner-up again over 1500m at the same venue last year, Manangoi finally looks a sure bet for victory on the Oslo track at the third time of trying.
NICOLA SUTTON FOR THE BISLETT GAMES MEDIA TEAM