On Friday evening, Laura Muir sat in her hotel in Birmingham and signed 66 autographed photographs, enough to satisfy the demands of her growing band of admirers at yesterday’s Muller Grand Prix, she hoped. It was barely enough. On an afternoon when the 25-year-old created another small slice of history, everyone seemed to want a memento.
Kirsty Wade’s British mile record had stood since 1988 but over 4 minutes and 18.75 seconds of relentless endeavour, the torch was passed from one Scot to another, Muir fuelled by a desire for a showing that would set her up for next week’s European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
It was the third-quickest time ever at the distance and included a UK 1,500m record of 4:01.83, ahead of the defence of the 1,500 and 3,000 metres titles she landed in Belgrade two years ago. “It tees me up in a perfect way,” she acknowledged. “To run one of the fastest times ever, and a British record, as your last race before a home championships is perfect, ideal.
“I am at the stage now where I am just confident and relaxed in my own ability to run well. There are no questions about my ability to execute on the day.”
It was a day for new benchmarks with Samuel Tefera holding off Ethiopian rival Yomif Kejelcha to reduce the world indoor 1,500m record to 3:31.04. Finishing fourth, Josh Kerr lowered the Scottish record to 3:35.72, elevating the 21-year-old into third place on the UK’s all-time list.
Having chosen to miss last weekend’s trials, he throttled his selection hopes in Glasgow. “They can still pick me if they want to,” he declared. Not so, confirmed British Athletics officials who insisted Kerr had been given due warning of the consequences of remaining Stateside.
A number of candidates were effectively asked to prove their worth before the British team is confirmed today. Eilish McColgan, who missed the trials due to illness, took seventh place in the 3,000m with the 2017 bronze medallist from Belgrade surely running quickly enough to line up alongside Muir on the opening evening.
Assured of a relay slot, Eilidh Doyle is now primed for an individual berth in the 400m, producing a season’s best of 52.43 seconds to take second yesterday and coming out ahead in an effective run-off with rival Laviai Nielsen.
Lynsey Sharp will have to resign herself to watching from the sidelines after coming only fifth as rivals Adelle Tracey and Mari Smith fortified their cases.
The former European champion will be an interested spectator this week when her long-time rival Caster Semenya presents her arguments at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the IAAF’s controversial plans to impose new regulations on female athletes with irregular testosterone levels or Differences in Sex Development.
The Olympic champion will argue that the governing body’s stance is inhumane. “I think everyone wants it resolved,” said Sharp, who has previously bemoaned the lack of parity as a consequence of Semenya’s genetic anomaly. “Either way, everyone wants to know what is happening.”