It’s amazing quite how much three-and-a-half minutes can change someone’s life.

When Josh Kerr and I speak, with the 26-year-old in the midst of an altitude camp in the US, he’s over two hours into media commitments.

It’s like that most days and has been, he says, since the minute he crossed the line to win his historic 1500m world title last August.

Kerr, however, has never been one to get unduly ruffled and has taken the increased demand on his time in his stride, as much as that’s been possible.

“There’s definitely a few more things on my plate now,” the Scot says.

“Initially after the Worlds, it was very frenetic, lots of people wanted to speak to me and there were lots of opportunities coming my way and so I realised I needed to structure it better. 

“I do between an hour and two hours of media or commitments five or six days a week. It is a lot - I thought it would slow down after a month or two but that’s not happened yet and so this has been a whole new thing for me to get used to. Now, I have someone to run my calendar and that helps so my training isn’t disrupted.

“I’ve got used to the new routine pretty quickly, though - I’m normally just talking about myself so it’s not too difficult.”

The opportunities afforded to the Edinburgh man since winning his world title have been plentiful.

When pressed as to whether or not he’s allowed himself to fully enjoy his new-found status as world champion, Kerr admits he’s not entirely sure he has.

But that’s been a conscious decision.

“I don’t know what the definition of enjoying a world title is, to be honest,” he says. 

“I don’t know if I have done that. There’s a lot of fun things that come with being world champion but there’s also things that are not as fun and so it’s been a bit of both.

“I’ve been invited to some really cool stuff that I haven’t been able to go to – there was an awards night in London in mid-December and there were Premier League managers and F1 drivers and those kind of people going and it sounded unbelievable but then my team told me it was the same day as I was racing so I couldn’t make it. So that sucked. 

“I’ve still met some awesome people and been to some very cool things but, at the end of the day, I’m a runner and that’s the most humbling thing in the world because you can talk all you want, it’s what you do when you’re out there that matters.

“And actually, the most fun thing I’ve done was go back to my school and to my club in Edinburgh. I want kids to know that I’m a very regular person who’s just able to compete at a high level.”

Kerr, who is now based in Seattle, may be getting pulled in all directions these days but he’s well aware how vital it is he doesn’t lose focus on what’s important.

In reality, there’s little chance of that happening. 

For fourteen years, he’s had his sights set on becoming Olympic champion at the 2024 Games.

And he is now, as he says himself, closer than he’s ever been.

Kerr has never been short of self-belief. Long before he ever graced a major championship podium, he’d willingly tell anyone who asked that his ambition was to become the best in the world.

Last August, in the final of the 1500m at the World Championships in Budapest, he achieved that ambition.

The Herald: Josh Kerr became world champion in Budapest last AugustJosh Kerr became world champion in Budapest last August

His world title was far from out of the blue. He’d already set a raft of records in the ultra-competitive US collegiate scene when he’s studied at New Mexico University and won Olympic bronze in 2021.

But it was his world title, outsprinting pre-race favourite Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the home straight, that proved to both the world and to Kerr himself that he had exactly what’s needed to not only compete with the world’s best, but to beat them.

That victory put Kerr in the privileged, or high-pressured, position of going into Olympic year as world champion. It’s a feeling to which only a select few Brits can relate but the Edinburgh man, despite the intensity of the attention on him due to his status, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Ten years ago, if someone had asked me what the perfect way to be entering 2024 was, I’d have said already being an Olympian, already have an Olympic medal and know that I can beat the best in the world and that means being a world champion. 

“The best way to go into the Olympics is knowing you have the ability to win Olympic gold and I know I do.

“So I’m pretty relaxed about it all. I’ve wanted to be the best in the world for a long time and I’m there now.”

The Olympic Games are now less than eight months away and while those months will fly by, Kerr knows there is much work yet to be done between now and August.

A heavy winter of training is now almost over – it passed without any illness or injury hampering the Scot’s momentum – and Kerr will make his first competitive appearance of the year at the Millrose Games in New York on the 11th of February where he will attempt to set a new world 2 mile record.

Following his indoor season, which he admits may yet include racing at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March, Kerr must ensure selection for GB’s Olympic team, with the British Trials taking place in June.

Despite his standing as world champion, Kerr’s selection for Team GB is no formality, with his compatriots, 2022 world champion, Jake Wightman and 2023 European Indoor silver medallist, Neil Gourley, just two of the other men who also have their sights set on being in Paris this summer.

Kerr, however, is in as good, if not better shape than he’s ever been. His most recent competitive outing was at the San Diego Half Marathon in December, where he set a new personal best time of 61 minutes 51 seconds and so while he refuses to get over-excited, Kerr is quietly confident as the 2024 racing season approaches.

“I have all the info from my past five years and I’ve gotten better every year so it’s about continuing that trajectory.

“I’ve not changed too much this year. The thing about running is that if you don’t miss big blocks then you can continue to improve so even though I’m doing similar things to before, I’m getting better,” he says.

“This year, all my training sessions have gone very well so I’d say I’m in a better place than I’ve been before.

“I know how strong I am going into this season but the important thing is to see how that translates onto the track.”

The men’s 1500m is one of the most hotly-anticipated events of the athletics schedule this year.

With Kerr and Wightman having won the two most recent world 1500m titles, and Ingebrigtsen the reigning Olympic champion, the three-way rivalry is intense.

Even more so considering the obvious personal dislike between Kerr and Ingebrigtsen, fuelled almost entirely by the quite baffling behaviour of the Norwegian who is reluctant to give even a shred of credit to anyone who dares to cross the line ahead of him.

In the aftermath of his world championship defeat in Budapest, Ingebrigtsen said he was unwell, implying the only reason Kerr had prevailed was because he was short of 100 percent. The Scot admits not only did the Norwegian’s comments rile him but also that he’ll never take that kind of attitude from an opponent lying down.

For onlookers, that mutual dislike makes for an intriguing rivalry over the coming months and particularly, in Paris this summer.

“I can’t affect anything Jakob does or says but I’m also not going to stand by and get disrespected. I’m not someone who’s going to be like that’s fine, he’s entitled to his opinion – it’s not ok. He was disrespectful and I’m not going to stand for it,” Kerr says of Ingebrigtsen.

The Herald: Kerr (centre), defeated Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen (R) to the world title last summer Kerr (centre), defeated Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen (R) to the world title last summer

“I have a lot of respect for him as an Olympic champion and the work that he puts in, I just don’t have respect for the way he treats his fellow athletes after races.

“I have a fantastic relationships with Jake (Wightman) and a pretty terrible relationships with Jakob but that’s fine, I don’t mind either way – I treat everyone the same when the gun goes off. I don’t want to beat Jakob any more than I want to beat Jake – I want to beat them both. I know it’s going to take a heck of a race to do that.

“Everyone wants to be part of a great era and this current era of 1500m running has some really great runners in it. That makes for an exciting event and it makes for an exciting watch. 

“That rivalry between us all will grow and we will probably meet each other a few times before the Olympic Games but I don’t think that’s going to really affect what will happen on the day of the Olympic final.

“Jakob showed it at the Olympics in 2021, Jake showed it at the Worlds in 2022 and I showed it at the Worlds last year that when it’s time to go, we’re not going to shy away from a challenge and that’s exciting.”

For all the media commitments, talk of rivalries and unsolicited opinions that will be a part of Kerr’s life in the next eight months ahead of the Olympic Games, there’s one thing that dominates his thoughts.

With an Olympic medal and a world title to his name, there remains only one significant gap in his CV and that’s Olympic gold.

And while his pedigree ensures the external pressure upon Kerr’s shoulders will be exorbitant, in fact, his previous success has left him feeling lighter than he could have imagined.

Come the Olympic 1500m final on August the 6th, Kerr’s mind will not be clouded by numerous tactical strategies; rather, he’ll have one plan in his head and he intends to follow it impeccably.

“If I have the option to risk it all for Olympic gold or hold back and definitely get silver or bronze – I’m going to risk it all for gold,” he says. 

“I’m going to swing for the fences in Paris. 

“I think that makes me more dangerous than I’ve ever been because I don’t care about getting as medal, I care only about winning. 

“Having an Olympic medal is a very special thing and I have one already. Now I want gold.”