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Ingebrigtsen aims to extend his win streak at the 2023 SPAR European Cross Country Championships

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  • Ingebrigtsen aims to extend his win streak at the 2023 SPAR European Cross Country Championships

Still only 23, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen will target a seventh successive title at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Brussels on 10 December.

On a weekend when he was crowned men’s European Athlete of the Year for the second year in succession, Ingebrigtsen also confirmed he endeavours to add further lustre to a landmark season both on and off the track when the championships return to Laeken Park.

“I definitely plan to be in Brussels. As always it will be my first competition after the track season,” said Ingebrigtsen, whose numerous 2023 season highlights included another 1500/3000m double at the European Athletics Indoor Championships and 5000m gold at the World Athletics Championships.

After winning a record four successive U20 titles at the European Cross Country Championships between 2016-2019, Ingebrigtsen graduated straight into the senior ranks in style, gliding to a masterful victory in muddy conditions in Dublin in 2021. At 21, he was also by far the youngest athlete in the race.

Ingebrigtsen ran out a comfortable winner in sub-zero temperatures the following year on a savagely undulating course in Turin to confirm - if any was needed - his ability to adapt to all conditions and all surfaces.

And while Ingebrigtsen is a man for all seasons, the Olympic 1500m champion is hoping Brussels will be a true test of endurance in his quest to become just the second athlete after eventual nine-time winner Serhiy Lebid from Ukraine to win this title in three successive years.  

“I know that Brussels is likely to be muddy and a tough course, especially after a few races before [the senior men’s] but I don’t mind. However, I personally hope it’s freezing. I would be happy with negative degrees, so the course is hard.

“It would be like what I train on sometimes at that time of the year when I’m at home in the west of Norway,” said Ingebrigtsen on his preferred conditions.

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And for Jakob, he is keenly aware of his family history at this event. The Ingebrigtsen medal haul at the European Cross Country Championships started when Brussels staged the event for the last time in 2008.

On that day, his older brother Henrik was the fourth scorer of Norway’s silver medal-winning team in the men’s U20 race courtesy of a 23rd-place finish.  

“It was his first European Cross. He told me all about those championships so I’m looking forward to going there,” he said. 

And if Ingebrigtsen was to triumph in December, he would take his tally of European titles across all distances and surfaces up to a dizzying 12 and with further chances to add to his list of accolades at the Roma 2024 European Athletics Championships from 7-12 June.

The 2023 SPAR European Cross Country Championships will be streamed in its entirety on the All-Athletics platform through the European Athletics website. 

Tickets for Brussels 2023 can also be purchased here

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