Edinburgh AC has produced back-to-back world champions in the event with Kerr and Jake Wightman rising from the East District cross-country relays to global glory. Kerr, now based in Seattle, believes a focus on the sport’s participation base can maintain that momentum over the metric mile.
“I felt like the (Olympic) bronze medal was enough where it meant that this had all been worth it and I had something physical to give back to the club, to Scotland and Great Britain,” said Kerr. “With this gold medal, I can take it one step further. Jake paved the way for me and showed it was possible. To have two guys win world titles from the same club, it’s incredibly special.
“I spent the best part of eight or nine years working on that weirdly bumped Edinburgh track that's now been upgraded. It’s now our turn to go back and make sure the grassroots are exactly where they were when we had that support, bridging the gap between club running and being a world champion.
“I think we can do that and hopefully this inspires the next generation of runners.”
Kerr has been living like a monk in the build-up to Budapest and immediately indulged in a slice of pizza when celebrating with family, friends and fiancée Larimar Rodriguez.
“I’ve been on an insane diet that my nutritionist has written, it’s been unforgiving,” said Kerr. “I’ve had a chef, mental coach, early mornings and late nights.
“There were no corners cut in this situation. I had to be proud of whatever that came up with because that was the best I’ve got."
It was Kerr’s fifth global championship and first gold medal, a remarkable turnaround from finishing 12th and stone dead last in the 1500m final at last summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Kerr followed Wightman’s blueprint in beating Ingebrigtsen, making a late move and outsplitting the Norwegian 13.62 to 13.91 in the final 100 metres to claim victory. On the surface, it seemed a perfect race but the relentless Kerr didn’t have to look far to find faults that he is anxious to address ahead of next year’s Paris Olympics.
“Calm confidence was the key and committing when the opportunity was there,” said Kerr. “I felt that the opportunity was there with 200 metres to go. I didn’t really want to do it beforehand but when it was there, I had to take it and not look back.
“I thought (Jakob) was going to wait for it. Obviously he’s a very smart runner, I’ve watched a lot of film and thought maybe Yared (Nuguse) was going to have a go at him with 200m to go.
“It was the inexperienced runner’s move, just trying to replicate what happened last year. It’s almost an underthink. I thought someone else would try at 200 and then I could come with 100 to go.
“I saw he was maybe lagging a slight percentage on that back straight, I felt that in Lausanne and didn’t take that opportunity. I wasn’t going to let that slip.
“I have so much respect for what Jake did last year and the race he ran. I knew I would have to run it slightly differently and I wouldn’t say it was a perfect race, but it was close enough.”
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