There were a few special moments for Laura Muir to savour on Sunday night, notably a first-ever major outdoor medal and a chance to top the dramatic podium in the iconic Berlin Olympic Stadium after winning European Championships gold in the women’s 1,500 metres.
However, the Scottish star revealed yesterday that the best part was finally delivering a medal for her parents when they have actually been in attendance.
Muir’s mum Alison and dad Crawford had travelled to the Rio Olympics in 2016 and were down in London for last year’s World Championships only to see their daughter miss out. Ironically, they were due to be in Birmingham earlier this year for the World Indoor Championships but the heavy March snow which struck the country meant they were unable to travel and see her win 1,500m silver and 3,000m bronze.
“Every single time they’ve been there, I’ve not delivered the medal for them. So I knew I had to get them a medal this time,” said Muir.
“It was nice and I got to see them briefly. I don’t meet them beforehand – I have just got to be 100 per cent focused. After the race it is fine to meet up.
“They do get nervous, I know they definitely do. But they just get wrapped up in it like everyone else. How they feel is not something I have ever really asked them to be fair, but they do get really nervous. Watching can be worse than actually racing itself. But they have always been there for me since I was little, watching and supporting.
“They were quite emotional, just quite happy for me. They know more than anyone the journey I have been on these last few years. How hard I work and what it means to me. Like any mum and dad, they want their kids to do well, so it was great for them to be there and see that.”
The 25-year-old was speaking at the Emirates in Glasgow to mark 200 days before the venue hosts the European Indoor Championships from 1-3 March next year, when Muir will hope to defend the 1,500-3,000m double she achieved in Belgrade in 2017.
Track and field was the one thing not to be held in Scotland during the recent multi-sport European Championships and next year will be the biggest stand-alone athletics meet, outside of the Commonwealth Games, to be held in the country since the same event at the Kelvin Hall way back in 1990.
“It was a wee bit surreal with us being in Berlin, but I felt like I was really connected to everything that was going on here,” said Muir. “There was a lot of British support out in Berlin which was really good and I was following everything on social media. Maybe we missed out on having that home crowd but the next one coming up will be in Glasgow and that will be fantastic.”
It will be yet another home championships for British athletes, and Muir admits to feeling fortunate to have had so many opportunities to race in big events on home soil.
“Definitely, the only one I really missed out on was London 2012, it was just a little bit before my time,” she said. “I have had so many major championships at home which is great.
“The British crowd is so knowledgeable and so supportive, the atmosphere is always fantastic. I’ve been really lucky to have so many chances to compete on home turf, having Glasgow 2019 here will be another chance for Scottish and British athletes to compete here. This [Emirates] is the stadium I train in week in, week out so to be here back competing is a great opportunity for me and one I am looking forward to.”
As for that fabulously dominant front-running win in Berlin at the weekend, Muir revealed that the strategy was not as long decided as it may have appeared.
“That was something we decided on the day. Five o’clock, I think (three hours before the gun, local time),” she said.
“I knew prior to that what I wanted to do. I wanted to go from a way out because a lot of the girls had a strong kick and would be dangerous in a sprint finish. I said to [coach] Andy [Young] I thought I would maybe go with 800 to go. He said I should go with 1k to go and I agreed.
“I knew I would hit the front and wind it up. But I knew I had to judge it right or I would burn out. I had to judge it very carefully to make sure I was strong to the finish line.
“It’s been everything I thought it would be. It’s a strange feeling that it’s all been and gone. But I’m so happy that I was able to go there and deliver on expectation in that great Olympic stadium.
“It was a lovely to be on the top of the podium and hear the national anthem; to have [GB team-mate] Laura Weightman [who took bronze] up there with me was great.
“As I was s tanding on the podium, all I was thinking was ‘don’t cry’. It’s been a really crazy, busy, tough year. To go there and be European champion at the end of it all, it meant a lot to me, to show that I can win not just indoors but outdoors and claim my first big title.
“I’m not usually that emotional. But, when it means so much to you and you’ve worked so hard, it’s a natural and good thing that you will be emotional.”
That crazy, busy year included Muir sitting and passing the final exams of her veterinary medicine degree at University of Glasgow, which led to her missing the Commonwealth Games.
She will now have a full winter to prepare for a crucial 2019, which includes world championships in Doha in September /October as well as those indoor Euros in Glasgow.
“I am focusing on the athletics this summer then have a chat at the end of the season to work out what training camps I am going to do, what training is going to be like for the next coming year, what free time I have got,” she said. “Then hopefully I will explore a couple of [veterinary] avenues where it is quite flexible. If anyone needs a hand with them and I am in the country I can hopefully pop along and help out.”
Next up for Muir is this weekend’s Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, where she will have a crack at Dame Kelly Holmes’s British 1,000m record.
“I have fond memories of breaking the indoor [1km] record last indoor season but outdoor it’s Kelly’s,” said Muir. “If I can do that it would be great.”