Sixteen-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen may not yet be a household name, but he’s being called “the next Sonja Henie” for his prodigious athletic skills at a young age. At the International Mile race/Prefontaine Classic event held recently in Eugene, Oregon, Jakob set a new world record as the youngest person to run a mile in under four minutes. The previous record – a 3:59.0 minute mile – had been held for 53 years by Jim Ryun of Wichita, Kansas, when the runner was barely 17.
Ingebrigtsen was the 11th runner to finish the mile in under four minutes, clocking 3:58.07. The only other teen who participated, DJ Principe of Rhode Island, came in just after the four minute mark. A few weeks later, Ingebrigtsen knocked a whole two seconds off his record, finishing at 3:56.29 at the Bislett Games in Oslo.
Jakob is not the only person in his family with swift feet. His older brothers, Henrik and Filip, also ran in the event and both finished at 3:53. Their father, Gjert, coaches all three and is known for setting tough goals for his trio of runners. While sports announcers are in awe of Jakob’s world record, father Gjert’s response has been measured. Gjert told NRK that he sees Jakob’s hard work and progress on a daily basis, so it did not come as any surprise.
Prior to the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, the Ingebrigtsens were the subject of a reality show series because of their unusual family: Gjert and Tone have seven kids between the ages of 2 and 27, three of whom are elite athletes.
After running well in the 3000 meter hurdle qualifiers, Jakob is now officially allowed to participate in the upcoming senior world championship in London. Persuading his father to send him will be another thing.
Image Credit: Youtube