Josh Kerr beats 39-year British one-mile record – and bitter rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen

josh kerr beats 39-year british one-mile record – and bitter rival jakob ingebrigtsen

Josh Kerr celebrates a decisive early-season blow over his biggest rival - Getty Images/Steph Chambers

The build-up – which contained accusations of disrespect, cowardly behaviour, egotism and a lack of manners – was compared to MMA or boxing and it was duly followed by a decisive early-season blow.

After his shock World Championship win last year, Josh Kerr again defeated his arch-rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen en route to also taking Steve Cram’s 39-year British one-mile record.

The winning time of 3min 45.34sec took almost a second off Cram’s 1985 personal best and while Hisham El Guerrouj’s 25-year-old world record remains, Kerr was still emphatic in achieving his main aim of beating Ingebrigtsen.

The Norwegian Olympic champion had complained of a fever when he lost the world 1,500m title last summer, a remark that ignited a winter war of words from which Kerr has now followed up a world indoor title by winning their first big head-to-head of this Olympic year.

josh kerr beats 39-year british one-mile record – and bitter rival jakob ingebrigtsen

Kerr comes home ahead of Jakob Ingebrigtsen - Getty Images/Steph Chambers

He also won the race in a very different way to Budapest, hitting the front with 600m to go before holding off Ingebrigtsen in the final lap ahead of British team-mates Neil Gourley and Jake Wightman, who both also set personal bests under 3min 48sec.

There was earlier a hugely encouraging and intelligent performance by Keely Hodgkinson who avenged her defeat in last year’s World Championship final by the Kenyan Mary Moraa. In what was her first 800m race of the year, Hodgkinson wisely held back from Moraa’s rapid early pace before producing a wonderful final 300m to surge through the field and win in a world-leading time of 1min 55.78sec. Moraa was just under a second behind, with Britain’s Jemma Reekie third in 1min 57.45sec. Britain now have three women under 1min 58sec already this season following 17-year-old Phoebe Gill’s phenomenal European age-group record earlier this month.

Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita were respectively also third and fourth over 100m while Laura Muir ran a season’s best 3min 56.35sec to finish fourth in a super fast women’s 1500m.

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