The past few months have been quite the rollercoaster ride for Laura Muir. The joyous labours of two medals at the world indoor championships. The frenetic grind of the final stretch of her veterinary degree at Glasgow University, followed by a fortnight’s tension until confirmation came on Wednesday – were it ever in doubt – that six years of study have been converted into professional affirmation.
How appropriate that, after logging on to find out her results, the 25-year-old was to be found at a theme park in Los Angeles, propelled up and down amid the mechanical mania of the Harry Potter attraction. Yet now it is back to formulating wizardry on the track, beginning in tonight’s Diamond League meeting in Oregon, where she will resume her bid to graduate as the best of the very best over 1,500 metres.
No easy return, even with Muir boasting the quickest personal best in a field that also includes the USA’s world medallist from London last summer, Jenny Simpson. “I won’t be putting much pressure on myself but it’s an opportunity to race and enjoy it and get into that situation again before racing back in Europe,” the Scot confirmed. “The European Championships in Berlin is the most important thing this summer so I won’t put too much store in the first go of the season.”
Having won the overall Diamond Race title in 2016, Muir is now obliged to play catch-up with her rivals stealing a lead. She looked briefly up from her books to stay abreast of proceedings in Doha and Shanghai. “That was surreal but at the same time, I knew it would only be a few weeks until I was out in America. Same with the Commonwealths, watching everyone else. It was hard. But I knew what was important was to get my career done.”
It has been confirmed she will run the mile at July’s Anniversary Games in London where Zola Budd’s 33-year-old UK record will be in her sights.” First and foremost, I am looking to win the race, but in doing so, if I can break the British record, that would be fantastic,” Muir admitted.
Meanwhile, tomorrow’s Edinburgh Marathon could be among the most competitive on record after organisers altered their policy of bringing in elite athletes from abroad in favour of a largely domestic field. “There will be more runners competing out there and I think that’s better,” said race chief Neil Kilgour.