SCOTTISH athlete Laura Muir will land her first Team GB and NI vest at the British International match in Glasgow on Saturday.
The Emirates Arena hosts international athletics for the first time with 5000 fans having snapped up tickets for an event that is also live on BBC. And Muir, a 19-year-old veterinary medicine student at Glasgow University, has been added to the Great Britain line-up to win a debut senior vest at 1500m.
Scottish Olympians Lee McConnell and Eilidh Child were already confirmed as members of the Commonwealth Select team for Saturday when Muir was informed late last week of her selection by UK Athletics. It didn’t stop her from appearing for Scotland in snowbound Cardiff on Sunday, however, as she claimed an Under-23 Women individual first place in the Celtic Nations Cross Country event and eighth place in the simultaneous Senior Women’s McCain Challenge race.
“I am really pleased about my call-up as it will be my first senior vest for Team GB,” said Muir, who grew up in Kinross in Fife and runs for Dundee Hawkhill Harriers as well as Glasgow Uni and is a member of the 51-strong scottishathletics Commonwealth Squad. “It is a great feeling. I will be taking on the 1500m and I am looking forward to it – my first appearance at that distance in an international level event.
“I don’t know yet what the other girls can run and it might be better for me not to check it out! It will be an amazing experience to run in a Scottish event with 5000 people and a lot of family and friends have been getting tickets to come along.” Muir won a GB Under-20 vest in December 2011 in cross country at the European Champions and then, last July, made the World Juniors in Barcelona at 3000m with her career very much on an upward track. In January, she clocked the fourth fastest 3000m by a Scot on the all-time list with 9.02 in one of the first events at the Emirates.
“My PB is 4.14 for 1500m and if I could improve on that I would be delighted but anything can happen and last year’s race at the Kelvin Hall ended up as a tactical one: very slow at first and then a rapid final lap,” she added.
Muir could easily have body-swerved her Scotland appearance in Cardiff but refused to do so with admirable conviction.
“I was flying to Bristol for the Celtic Nations Event in Wales and if I had been travelling on Friday I’d have had some major delays because of the weather problems,” she said. “Thankfully I was able to get south on Saturday and was at the hotel at 1pm – a few hours before the bus arrived from Scotland. I want to represent Scotland when I can as there are not too many opportunities. I enjoyed the race even though the conditions were pretty tough.”
Muir’s individual first place was backed up by no fewer than six second places in the Celtic Nations age-group races for young Scots: Kathryn Pennel (Pitreavie), Catriona Graves (Garscube Harriers), Andrew Butchart (Central AC), Jonathan Glen (Inverclyde), Euan Gillham (Kilbarchan), Gillian Black (Victoria Park-Glasgow). And the strength and depth of the club scene was exemplified with no fewer than 18 clubs providing the 23 athletes on Scotland duty in Cardiff.