The last curve. 200m. Two athletes seek their limit. Jakob Ingebrigtsen sends inside. He controls Mohamed Katir out of the corner of his right eye, who has been glued to his heels for a lap and a little more, his elbow grazing the Norwegian who was a child prodigy and is almost an unbeatable adult. Katir doesn’t want it to go on like this. The Spaniard grits his teeth. He thinks of his moment, the moment he plunged the knife deep into her. Run Katir, athlete and poet from Mula, as Primo Levi sang, full of vertigo, and cramps, stubborn and desperate, terrified by the convulsive drum of his heart. And the terror of his heart, which is confused with the accelerated clapping of thousands of fans in the stands, leads him to anticipate his movement, to attack Ingebrigtsen – so arrogant that he despairs, so calm in appearance that he is confused – where no athlete would attack, in the curve and outside. Katir attacks and yields, he grits his teeth, accelerates lean, heavy, intense, and gives up. He reaches the straight, at the last 100m, Ingebrigtsen released. He wins. Second Katir, silver medal. But he doesn’t burst with joy. Races are run to be won. And he is still sad in the mixed zone, where he speaks softly, Katir, beaten twice in the last meters by his Norwegian demon, one he met, and his brothers, in Sierra Nevada in the winter of 21, when they monopolized the rollers and left him on the waiting list. “It was a shame that it was a direct final,” says the 24-year-old athlete from Mula. “With fewer athletes, everything would have been cleaner, there would have been fewer elbows.” Ingebrigtsen runs it calmly until the last thousand. He lets do. He climbs and accelerates in the lead. He progressively changes pace. Ingebrigtsen wins, 21 years old, already double European champion of 1,500m and 5,000m four years ago, at 17, Olympic champion of 1,500m, world champion of 5,000m does nothing, in Eugene. His time, 13m 21.13s. The last thousand of him, 2m 24s. Standard race. 13m 22.98s for Katir, already bronze in the 1,500m in Eugene. Third, the Italian Yema Crippa (13m 24.83s), the animator of the race together with the British veteran Butchart, the athlete who made the group of 25 stretch, the one who made it comfortable for everyone except for the Frenchman Hay and the Norwegian Nordas, who fell after brushing his elbows with Katir in a traffic jam. The other two Spaniards, further back, Oukhelfen twelfth, Mechaal fourteenth. All three were born on the other side of the strait. All three came to Spain as children, children of immigrants. All three are the heart of Spanish long-distance athletics. Last summer, 21, was the magical summer of Katir, the athlete who was born in Alcazarquivir, and, in Mula, trained by Gabriel Llorente, as Mariano García, the star of the 800m, remained in the shadow of Mechaal, of the other distance runners until he broke out in a series of races and extraordinary marks. In a few weeks he broke the Spanish records of 1,500m (3m 28.76s, the tenth best in world history), 3,000m (7m 27.64s), and 5,000m (12m 50.79s). Unstoppable. The world sensation. In Tokyo, he finished eighth in the final of the 5,000m, and to those who told him, a few, what a failure, he responded with his radiant smile, and the sadness of his shyness, but how did he fail, eighth, finalist, in a Games ? I am a child, a debutante, let me grow up. It has grown. It has reached the high level of demand. And a race in which he was a silver medal ends sadly. Run to win. You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.