Laura Muir isn’t just hoping to complete an historic double-double at this weekend’s European Indoor Championships. She’ll expect it.
The reigning 1500 and 3000 metres champion will top the bill at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena when the showpiece begins tomorrow, with the Scot forced to race twice inside three hours.
It’s a gruelling challenge which Muir and her coach have spent the past two months preparing for by honing her speed and endurance, with the ideal scenario offering her a gentle passage through the 1500m semi-finals before letting loose in the 3000m final.
Victory then, and again in Sunday’s 1500m climax, could elevate her among very elite company. Only four women have ever claimed more than four Euro Indoor golds, with the 26-year-old aiming to draw level with a clutch of past champions including Czech great Jarmila Kratochvilova and East German whirlwind Marita Koch.
No male or female, however, has ever defended twin titles before at successive editions of the championships. And although the Diamond League champion is anticipating a concerted duel with German rival Konstanze Klosterhalfen, her days of running scared are over and she intends to raise the bar, and the roof, on her home track. “Double gold would be fantastic,” said Muir, inserted at number 19 when the IAAF unveiled its new overall world rankings earlier this week.
“I want to go there and give it my best shot and if I can come away with two gold medals, I’ll be over the moon. It would be something.
“I do realise the magnitude of the task. But it’s something I feel I can do. I totally respect my competitors. But I feel I should be able to do it. I can do it. And I want to go out there and do it in front of a home crowd.”
Eilidh Doyle, meanwhile, believes she can get up to speed in Glasgow and claim the 14th major championship medal of her career, or perhaps even number 15.
The Olympic medallist, pictured, who turned 32 last week, has her own double shot when she starts the individual 400m on Friday before chasing yet another 4x400 relay gold two days later. And despite indifferent form, the 2018 world indoor medallist reckons she can run herself quicker during the event.
“Hopefully I can do that in the rounds,” she said. “I also think we’ve also got a fantastic chance in the relay to do something special.”
Muir and Doyle are two of nine Scots in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for Glasgow. The team will be captained by another Scot, 800m runner Guy Learmonth.