World Champions Made at Meadowbank

“I’ve wanted that [British] record for a long time because there are probably three or four guys who can chase it in the next few years,” he said.

In addition to Kerr and Wightman, Lynsey Sharp and Chris O’Hare medaled in major championships after spending formative years with Edinburgh AC. So what’s the secret? “If you have a mix of hill repeats and track racing, maybe that’s it,” Kerr said, also pointing to cold, “arduous” winter training in Scotland and Wednesday night’s racing at Grangemouth. He also highlighted Gourley, Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie from other parts of the country and how they all later had the confidence to go their own separate routes.

‘The best athletes sacrifice themselves daily’

Kerr comes from a family of athletes (his brother Jake is a forward for Scotland International Rugby Union) and, at just 16 years old, he made the bold decision to accept a track scholarship to the University of New Mexico. Since then he has resided in the high altitude of Albuquerque. “They said they had 307 days of sunshine, so I was there,” she says with a smile. “My parents had to come with me to sign my release forms because I was too young. It was probably the least cool thing anyone has ever visited at a university.

“We are showing that different paths can still generate surprising results. I think that’s what we can show the next generation: follow your heart, follow your gut, and choose the training setup that’s right for you. The best athletes sacrifice themselves daily. I live far from my parents, my brother and my nephews. I currently live in a different state than my fiancée.

“I am not with the people I love or where I grew up. At the starting line, I know the sacrifices I’ve made. I’ve worked hard, I’ve done it honestly.”

As for “clean” sport, Kerr also reiterated concerns that some athletes are using TUEs to gain a pharmaceutical advantage when there is no medical need. “Every pound that goes into research and development and making sure we keep this sport clean is money very well spent,” Kerr said. “I wasn’t saying TUEs were bad. But I think people take advantage of that. We are an open book. I was able to beat everyone in the world. And to do it in this position where I know I’m a clean athlete is very, very satisfying.”

That satisfaction was very visibly evident when Kerr crossed the line Wednesday night. So what did he yell at the crowd after crossing the finish line? “’Now I’m world champion,’” he says. “I’m like I’m coddling myself: ‘This is my turn.’ It was emotional. I’ve been to four major championship finals and now I’ve gotten a gold”.

Kerr wages psychological warfare to defeat Ingebrigtsen

When faced with choosing between three different Great Britain vest designs for Wednesday night’s final, Josh Kerr didn’t hesitate. He wanted the suit that his friend and teammate Jake Wightman had worn 12 months earlier to inflict the only other notable defeat on Jakob Ingebrigtsen in more than two years in which the Norwegian had amassed every conceivable title in the sport.

“I work a lot on the mental side of the sport,” Kerr had told reporters before the World Championships and, after such a memorable victory after going toe-to-toe with Ingebrigsten in a 1,500m classic final, he dropped more than one hint that the choice had been deliberate.

“I’m not saying I wore the specific model to relive some nightmares… but I needed every ounce I had,” he said, a twinkle in his eyes that had earlier been disguised by the £200 pair of designer Oakley glasses he’d used during the race.

“This makes me concentrate a lot, because no one can see my eyes, especially in the [pre-race] call room,” he explained. “It’s fantastic. At one point [in a previous race], someone was cursing me and saying ‘are you looking at me?’ and I said ‘I’m not sure friend, you don’t know where my eyes are looking’. It’s a very intimidating thing for people in the call room. So it’s a nice thing I have up my sleeve. I have enjoyed running with them.”

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