It has been impossible to miss Josh Kerr at these world championships. He is the man in the golden $255 Oakley shades, with the speed and confidence to back up his sartorial flair. And having won his 1500m heat and semi-final, the 24-year-old Briton senses a golden opportunity in the final on Tuesday.
Last year Kerr won Olympic bronze in a time of 3:29.05 – quicker than Seb Coe, Steve Cram and Steve Ovett in their prime. And while he faces a stacked field that includes the Tokyo 2020 champion from Norway, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot and Abel Kipsang, the world’s fastest man in 2022, Kerr insists he is in the form of his life.
“I am Scottish,” he said. “I never have any fear. I’ve been running since I was nine years old and I’ve learned a lot of lessons through the years. This final is going to be an accumulation of 15 years of really hard work. I am going to give it every single thing I’ve got.”
The temperatures are due to reach the 30s in Eugene on Tuesday but Kerr has been helped by his sponsor, Brooks, installing an air-conditioning device in his dorm room to give him the best possible chance of staying cool.
Asked whether his golden shades were sending a message to the rest of the pack, Kerr smiled. “I’ve won two for two, so you can’t change it now, can you? I enjoy racing in them. I’m able to look around and no one knows where I’m looking. It makes me feel like I’m making smart decisions.”
Kerr, who will be joined in the final by fellow Briton Jake Wightman, has never been short of confidence or an opinion. And having made waves this year after saying he did not want to be on a yoghurt pot – a reference to the fact that UK Athletics has a sponsorship deal with Müller – he now wants to make a giant splash.
“You’re going to watch me play hopefully the best game of chess I’ve done in my life. I am ready for anything. I’m ready to go out and run a PB so wherever whatever happens, happens and I’m just gonna give it my all. Hopefully I can go out there and be better than I was last year.”