There is, signals Josh Kerr, not a shred of buyer’s regret about his decision to eschew home comforts last year and hit the road to New Mexico where the lure of an athletics scholarship tempted him to trade Edinburgh for an American adventure.
The typical daily schedule, for any 19-year-old, has ample and obvious appeal. “I get up at 7am for a run for eight miles, come back, get ready and go to class,” he says. “Then I grab a nap, go for run and then hang up by the pool or play table tennis. It’s funny when recruits from the UK ask me about the lifestyle and I tell them I have five days per week when its all about running and going to the pool. It sounds too good to be true.”
So far, the goods have been as advertised. But Kerr has passed up on Christmas in the altitude of Albuquerque for a grand European tour. Today it is Destination Sardinia for the European cross-country championships where the teen – who goes in the Under-20 event – will join fellow Scots Andy Butchart, Callum Hawkins and Steph Twell in a 36-strong British team with lofty ambitions.
Booking his spot through the recent trials in Liverpool, the 2015 European junior champion over 1500 metres feels battle-hardened by his Stateside sojourn. In return for a debt-free degree, he has a heavy schedule of collegiate races that bring one examination after another.
“I won the Conference title last year in a tough race, and then regional finals,” he says. “After that I got to NCAA Nationals and that was quite a journey. There’s heats and the competition is mental. If you have been there before, you don’t necessarily assume you’ll get there again but I want to do that.”
After his academic year is done, it will be back to Europe once more in a bid to make the world championships in London. “It’s a little side goal of mine at the back of my head to get there,” he says. “If I run quick enough, and get in the top two at trials, I should be in good stead.”
In Chia this morning, the British team will be captained by Butchart, whose brilliant form in 2016 gives him a shot at following Mo Farah and Jon Brown as a winner of the senior men’s race. “If I can get a medal for the team I’d be over the moon,” the Olympic 5,000m finalist said. “We as a team have topped the medal table for the past 13 years and we hope to do that again.”