The first big outdoor track meet of 2020 is set for June 11 in Oslo, Norway at an event dubbed the Impossible Games. This meet will replace the Oslo Diamond League (which was also scheduled for June 11 but cancelled due to COVID-19), and it will feature a limited program of events, including a 2,000m race. It was exciting enough when the Impossible Games were first announced, because we’ve all been craving live sports since early March and any track meet is better than nothing. The event just got more exciting, because this morning, World Athletics announced that the 2,000m will feature Team Ingebrigtsen versus Team Cheruiyot (Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manangoi of Kenya).
Team Ingebrigtsen takes on Team Cheruiyot in Oslo’s Impossible Games.
— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) May 26, 2020
Tale of two cities
For the most part, the Impossible Games athletes will all compete at Oslo’s Bislett Stadium. For the 2,000m race, though, Cheruiyot and Manangoi will be in Nairobi, Kenya, running at the same time as all the other athletes with the race broadcast live on a split screen. The Ingebrigtsen brothers (Henrik, 29, Filip, 27, and Jakob, 19) will be on site in Oslo for the race.
The two teams will include additional runners (who have yet to be selected), with five athletes per side. Three members of each team have to finish the race, meaning the other two can be pacers for the main runners. The team with the best overall time from their top three runners gets the win.
— Timothy Cheruiyot (@tim_cheruiyot) May 26, 2020
Cheruiyot and Manangoi are the two most recent 1,500m world champions. Cheruiyot became world champion in 2019 in Doha, and Manangoi won the event at the 2017 worlds in London. Both runners are also silver medallists in the 1,500m, with Manangoi taking second place at the 2015 worlds in Beijing and Cheruiyot taking silver in 2017.
Henrik and Jakob got their outdoor season going on May 20 at a local race in Norway where they both broke the previous Norwegian 5K record. Jakob ran 13:29 with Henrik two seconds behind him. The Ingebrigtsens are no strangers to national records, holding eight among the three of them (six outdoor and two indoor). Henrik has the 3,000m indoor and outdoor Norwegian records, Filip holds the 1,500m and mile records and in addition to his new 5K road record, Jakob is the national record-holder in the 5,000m, road 10K and indoor 1,500m.
In Oslo in a couple of weeks, the three brothers will be looking to get one of their names in the history books once more, this time shooting for the European 2,000m record of 4:51.39, set by Steve Cram of Great Britain (who will be on the mic with colour commentary for the Impossible Games) back in 1985.