JOSH KERR has always been one to look at the bigger picture. 

Last year’s British 1500m title? It was just a stepping-stone to much bigger things later that season. 

And last summer’s Olympic bronze medal? It was, he hopes, just a stepping-stone to something historic this year. 

“At the Olympics, I was very proud of my bronze because the two people who beat me were arguably better than me, especially on the day,” he says.  

“It was a big PB for me but I’m trying to win every race I’m in so it’s about taking a deep breath and saying that wasn’t quite good enough so how do I get better? I want to be the very best and I’m not quite there yet so it’s exciting to think of future races because now, I don’t really care about getting just any medal, now I want gold. I’m not looking to rack up the bronzes or silver, I want golds now.” 

The major championships gold medal Kerr is imagining round his neck is that of the World Championships, which begin in Eugene in just three weeks time.  

But first, Kerr must ensure he has a seat on the plane. 

The British Championships begin today in Manchester and while Kerr is odds-on favourite to defend the title he won last year, he is too experienced to allow any complacency to set in. 

The men’s 1500m has been one of Britain’s strongest events in recent years and making the GB team is likely to be harder than making the World Championship final. 

Gunning for Kerr will be his compatriots, Jake Wightman and Neil Gourley, as well as the English contingent of Jake Heyward, Piers Copeland and Charlie Grice.  

Kerr has never been one to have a particularly heavy racing schedule – he has only raced three times outdoors so far this season – but he is confident of his form, particularly indoors where he set a new European mile record. 

“It’s been a good start to the year and I think we’re really building towards something special at the major championships,” the 24-year-old from Edinburgh says. 

“But first thing’s first; defending my British title and that’s really important to me so I’m going to make sure that happens and then I can look forward to the Worlds.” 

Since crossing the line third in Tokyo, Kerr has been formulating a plan about what he needs to change in order to upgrade that Olympic bronze medal. 

Winning world gold this summer would be no mean feat, he would need to beat Olympic champion and one of the best ever in the event, Jakob Ingebrigtsen no less, but Kerr believes there is certainly scope to race differently and potentially get a different result in Eugene. 

“I don’t think I need to change much fitness-wise, I think I just need to risk more when I’m racing and run for gold or bust sometimes,” he says. 

“It’s a scary thought. 

Jake Wightman did it last year in Tokyo – really went for it and it could have been a situation where he medalled as well but it didn’t quite work out the way he wanted. But there’s definitely a level of risk with the 1500m where you can choose to go early. 

“I chose to sit back a bit but maybe I need to risk more and go earlier.  

“It’s more the third and fourth lap is where I push harder than most people so if I’d gone earlier, it might have been a different result but how much do you play with it? 

“I can run it in any way and I’m going to run the World Championships trying to win it – I’ve always gone into every race wanting to win it, now it’s just more of a reality. It’s split decisions in a final – no two races are the same and you just need to use your experience.” 

Kerr has also had to get used to having much more of a spotlight upon him since his return from Tokyo, something he has previously avoided due to being based in America. 

He caused something of an uproar in a recent interview when he said he didn’t want fame, and didn’t want “to be on the side of any yoghurt pots”, referring, it seemed, to promotions some of his fellow GB athletes have done alongside one of the major sponsors of the sport in this country.  

He was, he insists, entirely misrepresented and misunderstood, but the point remains that, for now at least, fame and fortune are well down Kerr’s list of priorities. 

“It’s interesting how it’s changed,” he says.  

“When you’re doing a few interviews every week, it’s easy to rile people up and say the wrong thing. 

“That yoghurt thing, it didn’t come across the way I meant it – it was difficult because I’d never been under that kind of scrutiny before and had people implying things about what I’d said. I’m a pretty authentic person and so if you want to disagree with what I’ve said, that’s fine. I’m just a runner.  

“I don’t want it to be misunderstood that I don’t want to do media or things like that.  

“But at this point in my career, I’m focused on being the best runner I can be – it’s about priorities. 
“I’m not at the point where I’m a world or Olympic champion – there’s still a way to go before that happens and so when it does, then I can relax a bit and enjoy everything that comes with it – the media attention and the fame that come with being one of the very best runners in the world. 

“I make sacrifices on a daily basis to become the best runner I can.  

“Doing extra media and getting extra money from sponsors isn’t helping me become a better runner and so I’m focused on becoming world champion, and then I’ll enjoy the fruits of my labour after that.”