Andrew Butchart is hoping he can add his name to the long list of athletes who have achieved record-breaking runs at Oslo’s iconic Bislett Stadium in his 3,000 metre Diamond League race this evening.
The 27-year-old from Dunblane will be aiming to break his own Scottish record at the distance when he lines up in a classy field and is in good form after a solid showing at the recent Rome meeting, when he finished eighth in the longer 5,000m distance.
Back in June 2016 Butchart clocked 7:45:00 in Birmingham, breaking John Robson’s Scottish 3,000m record from 1984, and has the opportunity tonight to go better at one of the sacred grounds of athletics.
Norway may be a nation more associated with snow and skiing but, when spring breaks, it has proved a fruitful destination for athletes on a forgiving track which has yielded 65 world records.
The most famous night came 34 years ago when three fell within hours, including British legend turned commentator Steve Cram who clocked 3:46.32 in the mile.
Saïd Aouita of Morocco broke the 5,000m men’s world record and home heroine Ingrid Kristiansen brought the house down with her exploits in the 10,000m.
Butchart will be up against another local hero tonight in the shape of Henrik Ingebrigtsen, the eldest of the fearsome running clan, with younger brother Jakob, the pride of Norway, going in the “Dream Mile” as a climax of what should be a compelling night of athletics.
Butchart’s sights will be on that 3,000m mark which he set in the same race Mo Farah broke the British mark with a run of 7:32.62 and, if he were to achieve it, there would be no better place, outside home soil, than Bislett to do it.
As well as Cram’s famous feat in 1985, other British world records in the Norwegian capital include Seb Coe in the 800m in 1979 then mile in 1981, which beat the mark set by Steve Ovett the year before. Dave Moorcroft also took a 5,000m world record home from the 1982 meeting.
Butchart broke Nat Muir’s 36-year-old Scottish record in the 5,000 metres event at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in the Netherlands three years ago. His time was 13:13.30 and he ran the last lap of that race with only one shoe, joining an elite club of “Cinderella” athletes alongside Brian Whittle, who did something similar in the epic GB 4x400m relay gold at the 1988 European Championships in Stuttgart.
Other Scottish interest tonight sees Lynsey Sharp line up against British rival Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, but not Caster Semenya, in the women’s 800m.
After splitting from her San Diego-based coach Terrence Mahon, it was confirmed earlier this year that the 2012 European 800m champion has linked up with David Harmer in a return to her previous base in Loughborough.
The Edinburgh AC runner had a disappointing 2018 in which she flopped at last summer’s Berlin European Championships and then failed to make the GB team for the European Indoors in Glasgow earlier this year.
The highlight of the evening will be Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s assault on his first Dream Mile.
Middle brother Filip is also in the race but the teenager’s target will be older brother Henrik’s Norwegian record from 2014 of 3:50.72, as well as the tantalising prospect of becoming the first Norwegian winner of the iconic race.
The 18-year-old sensation who won a 1,500m-5,000m Euro double in Berlin last summer, only graduated from high school last week and said: “I am done with school now. Right now it is nothing different but from the end of the summer I will notice that I am not going back!
“So I intend to be a full time athlete for the next ten or so years. Last year I remember hearing the crowd and how loud it was. With the mile being the last event it is sure to be an amazing atmosphere.”