Whoever the taxi driver was who fought through the blizzards on treacherous motorways to deliver Laura Muir safely from Glasgow to Birmingham late on Wednesday night deserves an almighty tip.
The 24-year-old betrayed no signs of her travel traumas as she finally claimed an elusive global medal last night at the IAAF world indoor championships, landing bronze in the 3,000 metres with a typically ferocious run.
As so often, the Scot’s pathway to gold was blocked by Genzebe Dibaba and Sifan Hassan, as the Ethiopian accelerated away to a third successive title in this event with her Dutch challenger left to pip Muir by one-hundredth of a second.
“To win a medal in what was world-class 3000m race was very pleasing,” said Muir who will promptly return to action in the semi-finals of the 1,500m this evening. Recording a season’s best of 8:45.78 suggested her preparations were perfectly on track. She shrugged off the distraction of completing a veterinary degree that saw her working in Glasgow’s animal hospital until the eve of arriving here.
It adds lustre to a CV that already includes a pair of European indoor titles from last spring. More, outdoors, will surely come in the summer, even through she will forego the Commonwealth Games to concentrate on her studies. But like Eilish McColgan, who came a creditable tenth here, there will be further ambitions to fulfil this weekend.
Earlier, Britain’s Morgan Lake just missed out on high jump bronze, with the 20-year-old coming fourth among the three who cleared a best of 1.93 metres as Russia’s Maria Lasitskene – competing under a neutral flag – struck gold with a clearance of 2.01m.
It made it a Russian double with Danil Lysenko reversing his 1-2 of the 2017 world outdoors with Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim with a victorious leap of 2.36m. London 2012 bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz, who has been suffering from a back problem, was equal ninth after failing at 2.25m.
Chris O’Hare, meanwhile, believes he can excel in Birmingham despite the injury that disrupted his build-up. The double European medallist, 27, was a clear favourite for the 1500 metres title before a foot problem kept him out of the British Championships and the Glasgow Grand Prix.
It is a minor setback, insists the Scot, whose self-belief has not been eroded by his last place finish in the final of last summer’s outdoor world championships in London.
“The thing to bear in mind was that I was in shape to win a medal in London last year, and so I didn’t want to change that much,” O’Hare said. “Obviously I wanted to build on what I had achieved last year and build on my fitness and strength from last year. But nothing necessarily needed to be changed because I was in shape to win a medal.
“I just didn’t execute an efficient plan and I didn’t make good enough decisions in the race. So, it was more just about building on what’s there instead of trying to change anything, because nothing needed necessarily to be changed.”
With just one Kenyan entered in the shape of Vincent Kibet and with several established names sitting out, this might be O’Hare’s moment to rise and shine.
Today will also see first outings for fellow Scots Eilidh Doyle and Zoey Clark in the 400m heats.