Josh is new Men’s 1500m World Champion with stunning win over Jakob

Wednesday 23rd August 2023

Photo by Mark Shearman

Budapest Results

Josh Kerr claimed the Men’s 1500m World title in stunning fashion in Budapest!

And it was deja vu for hot favourite, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, as he lost out for the second year in a row to a Scot in the World Champs final after Jake Wightman’s success in America in 2022.

Josh, of course, is from the same Edinburgh AC background and what a moment again for athletics in Scotland as a second World Champion comes along in the 1500m within 12 months – after a 31-year gap back to Liz McColgan in 1991.

Belief coursed through Kerr’s performance and he took up the challenge laid down by Ingebrigtsen when the Norwegian increased the pace after a slow opening 300m.

Then, after the bell, the Scot based in America moved onto his shoulder and, almost exactly as Wightman had done last year, moved ahead just before the 200m – and then won the sprint finish on the home straight with stunning strength. Josh won it in 3:29.38.

Neil Gourley was ninth in the final.

Laura sixth in Women’s 1500m final

‘It has been a long time coming,’ said Josh.

‘It is quite an overwhelming experience but I am so proud of myself. I am so proud of my team and my family – they got me here. I didn’t feel like I ran the best race either so I just threw my whole 16 years of this sport at that last 200m and didn’t give up until the end.

‘it was fast from early and I kind of got bumped back into sixth or seventh but I stayed calm and I just wanted to execute a race that I would be proud of and I knew that I was capable of a World Championship gold medal for the team so I am very proud to be able to add to that medal count today.

‘There is a very big reminiscent of Wightman in there [over the last 200m]. I was battling with Jakob pretty hard – you could see by my face that I was throwing everything I could at this guy.

‘We were both hurting – I was just like ‘I have wanted this for my whole life and I am not letting anyone get in the way of that’.

‘I looked up at the screen, didn’t see anyone coming and I made sure I pumped all the way home. I am so happy.

‘With 50m to go, I kind of broke him and it was just about holding form at that point. I’d be proud – giving everything in that situation – if it was gold, silver or bronze. I’ve had the bronze and the gold is sweeter.’

Neil Gourley said:  ‘I tried to hang on but it didn’t quite happen in the last 200, it was a hard pace. I tried to go and there wasn’t a whole lot left I gave it my all.

‘I am delighted for Josh because I know how hard he works.’

Photo by James Rhodes


Megan Keith made her World Champs debut in Budapest with a 14th place finish in the Women’s 5000m heats.

The temperatures in Hungary were such that the heats were moved from the morning to the early evening and the race started slowly. Megan sought at one stage to push it on but found it tougher in the final kilometre.

‘It’s been a great year for me and this whole Champs has been an incredible learning curve,’ said the Inverness Harriers athlete.

Well done to Megan, her family, her coach Ross Cairns and her club.


Jemma Reekie made it safely into the Women’s 800m semi-finals on Friday.

Jemma took second in her heat with the top three assured of progress, as she clocked 1:59.71.

‘It’s always good to get the first one done; it blows the cobwebs away,’ she said.

‘It’s very hot out there and it’s the morning and I don’t really like mornings very much so I am excited for the semi-final. I ran the 1500m in Chorzow (16 July) in the midday heat and that was hotter than today so I knew I was able to run 800m in it.

‘I’m feeling really confident, I’m in the best shape I have ever been, I am the fastest I have ever been.

‘I just have to navigate that semi-final and go out there and expect to run a PB in that semi-final and I know I can do that.’

Thank you to Stuart Weir in Budapest for interviews with our Scottish athletes.


Tags: Jemma Reekie, Josh Kerr, Megan Keith, Neil Gourley

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