Jakob Ingebrigtsen vs Josh Kerr Rivalry Timeline: From Budapest To Paris

By Chris Chavez

March 13, 2024

TrackTown USA and Prefontaine Classic meet organizers announced the first three headliners for the Bowerman Mile on May 25th. The race will feature 1500m Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen (who won last year’s race in 3:43.73 to claim the Diamond League trophy), 1500m world champion Josh Kerr and U.S. mile record holder Yared Nuguse (who broke Alan Webb’s American record in 3:43.97 behind Ingebrigtsen in last year’s race.)

What you need to know about the race:

– This will be the first time Ingebrigtsen and Kerr clash since the 1500m final at the World Championships in Budapest.

– Kerr and Nuguse have raced against each other twice since Budapest. Nuguse got past the British star to win the Zurich Diamond League last August. Their most recent meeting was the World Indoor Championships 3000m final, where Kerr came away with the gold medal in 7:42.98 and Nuguse earned his first global championship medal with a silver in 7:43.59.

– Kerr, known for being highly selective of his racing schedule, will be making his first-ever appearance at the Pre Classic.

– This will likely be Ingebrigtsen’s season opener as he’s been rehabbing from an Achilles injury that forced him to miss the indoor season. He has said that he intends to compete at the European Championships in Rome, which will be held from June 7-12.

What’s The Beef?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past eight months, you know that Kerr and Ingebrigtsen may respect each other as competitors but haven’t been shy about trading barbs through the media. The talk has intensified, which only makes their first clash of 2024 a more highly anticipated event.

We’ve put together a timeline of their comments with links to read, listen or watch their exchanges.

Aug. 23, 2023

Kerr pulls off the upset and beats Ingebrigtsen in the 2023 World Championship 1500m final. In his mixed zone interview, Ingebrigtsen says he was sick.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t feel 100%,” Ingebrigtsen said. “I felt that after 500m my legs were not feeling as smooth as I would like them to be. Obviously, not the best run of the day.”

Aug. 25, 2023

On “CITIUS MAG Live at Worlds”, Kerr says Ingebrigtsen’s showboating in the semifinal came from a place of insecurity.

“I do think it comes from a place of insecurity,” Kerr said. “I think he panicked a little in the semifinal. He was able to get to the front and then at that point, he knew he was going to make it and everything was fine. The last time he did that was after he was beaten by Wightman in the heats of the 5000m. I’ve done that before where I’ve celebrated heats and semifinal before when I was in my worst shape. I do think it comes from a place of insecurity, where something has happened and he’s frustrated and he’s not the attention that he normally is when he’s won world records and really fast times.

When that happened, it didn’t annoy me because he did it. It made me excited because I knew there was a reason he did it. Something has happened to get to this point where he doesn’t feel like the center of attention or he surprises himself with how good he’s feeling. Something happened in that race. I was like, ‘Yeah, there’s a weakness right there.’”

(Watch from the 28:16 mark)

Aug. 27, 2023

Ingebrigtsen wins the 2023 World Championships 5000m final in 13:11.30 – just .14 ahead of Spain’s Mo Katir. When asked whether he was planning to race Josh Kerr later in the season to seek revenge, Ingebrigtsen said no and called Kerr “just the next guy.”

“If I hadn’t run in the final, he would probably have won,” Ingebrigtsen said. “That’s how I see the race. Obviously, if you stumble or fall then someone is going to win the race and he was just the next guy.”

Aug. 30, 2023

When asked about Ingebrigtsen’s comment, here’s how Kerr responded at the Zurich Diamond League press conference:

“Emotions are high in the media,” Kerr said. “I know he wanted the 1500 title and the 5000m field seemed to not realize he’d run three rounds and kind of wanted to make it slow for some reason. But he can be disrespectful to me, that’s fine. I still have the World Championship gold medal and I’m going to be the world champion for the next two years regardless of his comments. Obviously, I don’t love disrespectful comments and I’ve worked hard to get into this position and I beat him on the day. But if that’s the kind of route he wants to go down, that’s fine with me, I’m kind of unbothered by it.”

Nov. 11, 2023

On an episode of “The Sunday Plodcast”, Kerr was asked about the difference between Ingebrigtsen’s racing and how it compares to when he’s competed at Diamond League races with pacers.

(Watch from the 17:46 mark)

“I do think people will start realizing that a little bit now, but I don’t think he will, because the ego is pretty high on this one,” Kerr said. “He was paced in 2021 for his Olympic gold medal by (Timothy) Cheruiyot…If you really look at it, he doesn’t win a lot of non-paced races. I would love for him to be listening to this…That was a big part of our training as well.

There was a question asked to him earlier on in the season: ‘Are you worried about the world championship not having a pacer and all this stuff?’ And his answer was, ‘When the pacer drops out, I am the pacemaker.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, you have, you have no idea. You’ve won so many races, you’ve run fantastic all season – you must be surrounded by so many yes-men that you don’t realize that you have weaknesses.’ I think that was part of his downfall. If he doesn’t realize that he’s got some real major weaknesses, then he will not win the 1500 meter gold medal next year. I’m okay with that.”

Jan. 12, 2023

Ingebrigtsen shares with Dagsavisen that he will miss the 2024 indoor season due to an Achilles injury. He said: “I know my body and it sometimes happens that it needs a little extra time to heal before I start with hard loads. I've been struggling a bit with an Achilles and have therefore trained a bit alternatively. Now I'm on my way back, but I don't want to take any risks. Therefore, I run my own scheme a little more. I know that works. For me, it's European Championships and Olympic medals that matter”

Jan. 18, 2024

After the podcast clips surfaced in mainstream sports media, The Guardian asked Kerr for further comment on his statements.

“I’ve said it multiple times: he’s very dedicated and he’s amazing at our sport,” Kerr said. “He also wants to be the best in the world and so I do, and that’s going to make us clash 10 times out of 10. I’ll always have respect for his performances. I was merely pointing out that he has flaws, and I don’t think he knew that.”

“Myself and Jake Wightman have shown where those flaws are,” he added. “And I think he has some flaws in the manners realm as well. I’m not saying I’m a better time-trialer than him, because I don’t know if I am. But I think come championship day, I am the best athlete in the world. And no LetsRun article is going to tell me otherwise.”

Feb. 1, 2024

In an article with Stavanger Aftenblad, Ingebrigtsen shared that he was optimistic about his recovery from injury. When asked about his next meeting with Kerr and Wightman, Ingebrigtsen was confident in prevailing.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll win next time anyway,” he said. “I know that I win 98 out of 100 times against them. Hopefully, it will be a long time until next time. But we never know when time number 99 will come.”

Josh KerrJosh Kerr

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

Feb. 11, 2024

Josh Kerr set the two-mile world record at the Millrose Games in 8:00.67 at The Armory in New York City. He broke the previous world record of 8:03:40 set by Mo Farah in Birmingham (UK) in 2015.

Feb. 15, 2024

Ingebrigtsen, who holds the outdoor two-mile world record of 7:54.10 from last June’s Paris Diamond League, told TV2 in Norway that he would’ve beaten Kerr blindfolded.

“It is not certain that he runs any better now than last year at the same time; he did not run two miles then,” Ingebrigtsen said. “I would have beaten him in that race, blindfolded. But it’s good that people run better than they have done before.”

Feb. 24, 2024

Following his run at the NSW Milers race in Sydney, Wightman was asked about Ingebrigtsen by Wide World of Sports.

“I don't like sometimes getting dragged into it with a few disrespectful comments because I feel like I've shown a lot of respect,” Wightman said. “It probably means that we're doing something right if someone feels the need to say that about us. Josh is more likely to bite back, whereas I'd rather just let my running do the talking. I know myself and even Jakob, with the problems he's had, you need to probably be a little bit quieter and just get back to where you need to be before you can start banging your chest too much.”

Feb. 29, 2024

Kerr changed his mind about racing at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow and was named to the British Athletics squad in the 3000m. At the pre-race press conference, a Norwegian reporter asked Kerr for his thoughts on Ingebrigtsen’s blindfold comment and his absence from the championships.

60m world champion and world record holder Grant Holloway was also on-stage and warned Kerr to choose his words carefully. Ultimately, Kerr smiled and proclaimed: “No comment.”

(Watch from the 3:00 mark)

On that same day, a feature from The Times (UK) quoted Kerr on Ingebrigtsen saying: “He’s a big character and a big name in our sport. He draws a lot of eyeballs. There’s no ill will towards him. I’m just a competitive guy and that sometimes comes out in different ways.””

Mar. 2, 2024

Kerr wins the World Indoor Championships 3000m title in Glasgow. After the race, he was asked whether Ingebrigtsen saw it and how Kerr thought he’d react to it. Kerr said, “I’m not sure if he watches BBC2. I’m putting these performances together for myself and not anyone else. I’m really just becoming the athlete I’ve wanted to be. It’s taken a long process to get here through the UK system, through the NCAA and through the professional scene since I stepped on it in 2017 and failed in front of a British crowd. A good eight or nine years later, I’m able to put on a performance like that. It’s been a long process.”

(Watch from the 3:47 mark)

March 8, 2024

Ingebrigtsen shared that he is back to doing double training sessions in his comeback from injury. The Times (UK) visited Ingebrigtsen in Norway for a wide-ranging feature, which included more of Ingebrigtsen’s opinion of his competitors.

“I’m going to say my competitors are irrelevant in the way I see them [as] all the same,” he said. “One of the main issues is they are very inconsistent and that means my rivals are always changing. From 2017 I have had ten to 12 different rivals. It’s easier for them to have a rival in me but not as easy for me to have a rival in them.”

“The biggest issue is giving people like Kerr attention,” he added. “That’s what he is seeking. He is missing something in himself that he is searching for in others. I’m not the sort of guy to approve those sorts of things.”

March 12, 2024

Kerr said this is one of the best eras of the men’s 1500m in a feature with World Athletics.

“What’s great is there is a rivalry,” Kerr said. “There’s a rivalry between myself, Jake, Ingebrigtsen, Yared (Nuguse), everybody. They’re all trying to go after that title. I’m going to work my way through the season and hopefully see those guys later in the year. You never want to be involved in an era where it’s boring in the 1500m, where you know someone is going to win it.”

VG in Norway reported that Ingebrigtsen and his brothers, Henrik and Filip, will be followed by a documentary crew for an upcoming series that will be distributed on Amazon Prime. Filming is already underway.

May 2, 2024

Ingebrigtsen appeared on European Athletics' 'Ignite' Podcast and discusses the 2023 World Championship 1500m final and the upcoming Olympics.

On the 2023 World Championship Final:

"It’s a tricky one. You can definitely say something wrong. I think it’s better to not say much because obviously, I have a lot of opinions about that matter. It is what it is. At the end of the day, it’s a competition where everybody tries their best to win but sometimes everything doesn’t go as planned for everyone. At the end of the day, I think everyone knows what happened and the reasons why things happened the way they did – even though some people don’t want to admit it. It's still the way it goes. Sometimes it’s out of our way to do it any different. I would definitely want it to be different but that’s just the way it is.”

On rivalries:

"I think some people are just assholes and being idiots. At the end of the day, for me, it’s all about myself and the sport of running and trying to be as good as I can be. I think I am friends with people who share the same thoughts and chase the same goals as me. There are some people that don’t do that.”

On the Paris Olympics:

"I've won it before so I don't know what's all the fuss about. (Laughs) It's quite exciting. Obviously, the Olympic Games in Tokyo was very different to the upcoming Games in Paris with no spectators, a lot of testing and rules with COVID. But at the same time, it was a unique possibility for us as athletes to really focus on the competition itself and the things that mattered. There was never that much outside of going to the track to train and prepare and also to go into the competition to compete because we weren't allowed to do anything else. If I don’t get injured and I don’t get sick, I think it’s going to be a walk in the park.”

May 25, 2024

Ingebrigtsen and Kerr will race in the Bowerman Mile at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon.

June 7-12, 2024

Ingebrigtsen intends to compete at the European Championships in Rome. In 2022, he won the 1500m and 5000m European titles.

Aug. 6, 2024

The Olympic 1500m final will be contested at the Stade de France in Paris.

This post will continue to be updated as the Ingebrigtsen and Kerr saga unfolds throughout the 2024 season.

Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.