Edinburgh 1500m star Josh Kerr believes prep is ideal for Worlds

Josh Kerr has been training in the Pyrenees with Mo Farah
Josh Kerr has been training in the Pyrenees with Mo Farah

Josh Kerr has spent the past two weeks sniffing the clean air of the Pyrenees and the Capital athlete reckons cutting out the clutter of big city life will clear his path towards scaling the heights at the world athletics championships.

With just three days to go until the showpiece begins in London, the 19-year-old is staying well away from the fanfare until he starts his 1500 metres bid next week.

That means keeping things simple at the altitude hub of Font Romeu where he has been putting the final touches to his training alongside the likes of Edinburgh AC club-mates Chris O’Hare and Jake Wightman – and their fellow Scots Laura Muir and Andy Butchart.

Kerr said: “It’s been cool to be here. I’m rooming with people I’ve never met before. I’ve been training with Chris and Jake. Butchy a little as well. It’s been nice to get to know them better and pick up a little of what they do.

“That’s good experience for me. Because I’m hoping this is the first of many championships and this will make it easier for the future.”

It’s also a test of patience for the teen, who secured his spot in the British team with second place to O’Hare at last month’s trials in Birmingham.

Downloading box sets was the original plan to stay sane. Praying that the internet finds a little extra speed, he reveals, has become one of the daily rituals.

“You have a lot of time free. But I’ve been here for a while and I’ve had to get used to it. You just have to play cards or speak to people at home or hang out with folk here. The main thing is to avoid talking about running with them as much as possible.”

Not always easy, the former George Watson’s pupil concedes, when there’s one A-Lister in the camp whose king-sized shoes he’d love to fill when he steps off the track after London 2017.

A four-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion who’s set the bar so high that the likes of Kerr have no choice but to push themselves to the max.

“Mo Farah’s been out here and he came up and introduced himself,” his would-be successor revealed. “He’s really down to earth. He goes ‘Hi, I’m Mo.’ I’m thinking: ‘mate, I know who you are’.

“It’s just little things like that you appreciate and make you think ‘he’s no different to me’. I have the same goals. It’s coming slowly but I hope that after every race, I’m getting closer and closer to that level.”

There’s certainly the potential as the former European junior champion shows he is no respecter of reputations by conquering America this year in claiming the indoor and outdoor collegiate titles in the colours of the University of New Mexico where he has spent the past two years.

Albuquerque sits more than 1600 metres above sea level and the air is paper-thin. So what has been working a treat there should do so again in Font Romeu, he believes.

“It’s great just because I know it will be a huge benefit for me when I go back down. I will go down close to my start whereas a few of the guys here haven’t done that before and gone straight into a race. It is an advantage mentally – and physically.”

Making the final on the closing night in London is the mission. Anything less – given his sky-high ambitions – would feel like a letdown.

And he said: “I’ve proved I’m good enough to be here. I feel I’m on the same level and so I’m seeing what works for me.”