Two men gun for the finish, one in blue and other in purple and red
Josh Kerr of Team Great Britain, and Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Team Norway react as they cross the finish line in the Men's 1500-meter final at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)

Josh Kerr Shocks Jakob Ingebrigtsen for the 1,500-Meter World Title

A Scotsman plays spoiler to the Olympic gold medalist for the second year in a row

A track runner in blue looks disappointed
David Ramos/Getty Images

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For the second year in a row, Norwegian wunderkind Jakob Ingebrigtsen was upset in the World Athletics Championships 1,500-meter final by a Scot—this time, it was 25-year-old Josh Kerr, who pulled even with the world’s best middle-distance runner with 200 meters to go and then beat him to the finish in 3:29.38 to win gold.

The strain was obvious on Kerr’s face in the final 100 meters, but he continued to drive to the finish while Ingebrigtsen ran out of steam and was nearly passed at the line by countryman Narve Gilje Nordas. Just 0.03 separated the two Norwegians, as Ingebrigtsen took home silver for the second year in a row in 3:29.65 while Nordas, who trains under Jakob’s father Gjert, ran 3:29.68 for bronze in his first world championships final.

“I didn’t worry about what was going on earlier in the race, I just made sure I was there with 200 meters to go,” Kerr said after the race. “Then in the last 30 meters, I thought, ‘I want this so badly, I don’t care how much pain I’m in. I’m going to do everything to get to the finish line first’.”

Two men gun for the finish, one in blue and other in purple and red
Josh Kerr (left, Great Britain) and Jakob Ingebrigtsen (right, Norway) in action during the 1,500-meter final. (Photo: Sven Hoppe/Picture Alliance/Getty)

Kerr, who trains with the Brooks Beasts in Seattle, Washington, had to settle for fifth in last year’s world final after earning Olympic bronze in Tokyo. Now, he is the third British runner in history to win the world title.

Steve Cram won the inaugural 1983 world championships, and it was Kerr’s fellow Scot Jake Weightman who pulled the upset last summer in Eugene, employing similar tactics over the final 180 meters. Kerr and Weightman actually trained together as youth rivals at Edinburgh Athletic Club, and now both men will be favorites for the podium at the 2024 Paris Games.


Ingebrigtsen, who is the second-fastest man in the history of the 1,500 meter, will return to the track in Budapest to compete in the 5,000 meters, wherein he is the defending world champion. But the reigning Olympic champion in 1,500 meters hedged on his chances to reporters after the race, saying that he felt ill with a dry throat in the days before the race.

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“It got worse on the last two days and then a little bit better when I woke up this morning, he said. “Not feeling 100 percent feels very unlucky. I will definitely run the 5,000 meters, but I do not know how it will go.”

The preliminary heats of the men’s 5,000 meters are on Thursday evening local time, and the final is on Sunday, the final day of competition.

Lead Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images