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3:56 miler struggles up world’s ‘steepest mountain race’

Mountain races and track speed are different beasts, as Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen learned on the weekend at the world's steepest race

Jakob Ingebrigtsen

The youngest person to ever break 4:00 in the mile tested his talents in a less familiar setting than he’s used to on Sunday.

According to NRK, the Stoltzekleiven Opp, held in Bergen, Norway, is known as “the world’s steepest race” and climbs at an average grade of 34.5 per cent. The event itself is 910m and climbs 313.5m over approximately 800 steps, some “safe steps” while others are rocks.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, a 17-year-old who has run 3:56.29 for the mile, was by far the biggest name in the field as he’s a European junior champion on the track. According to NRK, he was in second during parts of the race but struggled in the latter stages of the vertical event, fading to 30th.

He nearly collapsed, on several occasions, before reaching the top and was aided, at times, by his training team. He was brought back down the mountain, after finishing, on a stretcher and in a vehicle. At no time was he able to speak for himself, according to a photographer on-site.

Ingebrigtsen finished in 9:39 while the winning men’s time was 8:04. In 2016, Ingebrigtsen, one of three world-class athletes in his family, completed the race in 9:14, at 16 years of age.