Paula Radcliffe helps put Laura Muir back on track

Laura Muir aims to better her Scottish record in the 1,500m in Oslo. Picture: Hemedia
Laura Muir aims to better her Scottish record in the 1,500m in Oslo. Picture: Hemedia
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Laura Muir has thanked running legend Paula Radcliffe for handing her a pre-season boost last month, as the Scot prepares for another high-octane Diamond League outing in Oslo.

The GB international, who has set personal bests at 3,000m and 800m in a superb start to the 2015 season, will aim to better her own Scottish National Record at 1,500m in Norway 

You take heart from something like that being said about you

Laura Muir

Muir admitted recently it took her a long time to recover from the disappointments of the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships last summer.

But words of wisdom and 
encouragement by Radcliffe in the media helped lift Muir ahead of runs in Hengelo, Rome and Birmingham, which augur well for the World Championships in Beijing in August.

The Olympian, a member of the British Athletics endurance coaching team, was in Glasgow for the women’s 10k in May and said: ‘I firmly believe that Laura Muir is an amazing talent.

“Running four minutes flat last year was a big boost to her confidence, but then it took a little bit of a knock because things just didn’t go her way in the championships. But she is still so young and has so much time ahead of her. I think she has huge potential.”

Muir’s coach, Andy Young, made sure the middle-distance runner noted Radcliffe’s comments and soon afterwards the 22 year old opened the season with one of the best 3,000m runs ever by a Scottish woman.

“I read what Paula Radcliffe said recently about me,” said Muir, who followed up the 8.38.47 in Holland with 4.00.61 in Italy at 1,500m and then an 800m PB of 2.00.42 in Birmingham last Sunday.

“It appeared in a couple of Scottish papers and my coach pointed it out for me. He wanted to make sure I saw it.

“Paula was very supportive and encouraging and that was great to see. She is someone with such a good reputation and so much experience that you take heart from something like that being said about you.

“Hopefully, I can back up her kind words with more good performances this summer.”

Now Muir, who studies veterinary medicine at Glasgow University, heads into her third high-class race in eight days with a return to 1,500m in the Diamond League meeting in Oslo after that fine 800m PB at the Alexander Stadium at the weekend.

“I’ve never been to the Oslo event and it is one of the special ones on the programme, so I am really looking forward to it,” she said. “I was pleased with the 800m run. I feel annoyed now I did not get a PB in Rome in the 1,500m as that would have been three in a row. I was pretty close to it on the night in Italy, too. I watched it back and was pleased how I attacked it.

“On Sunday the start was very quick and I had to work hard to get in touch initially. But I know now sub two minutes is on the cards for me at some point – because I ran quite wide there at a couple of points in the race.

“There was no helping it, really, but I ran a little bit further than 800m as it transpired. And it was a little bit windy and with tired legs. I think I can improve that 800m PB and get under two minutes.”

As is often the case with Muir, juggling university commitments with athletics has been a balancing act. “The way the race plan panned out it was a wee bit of a later start to the season – I also had Uni exams to sit,” she said.

“We wanted to go back to Hengelo after running well there last year and the 3,000m went well this time. We knew what we wanted to do months in advance and the season is going well so far. We did manage to do a bit of sight-seeing in Rome last Friday. It was fun and you have to relax at some point.”

Eilidh Child heads into her third Diamond League 400m hurdles in eight days in Oslo, with the European champion following a similar programme to Muir.

Steph Twell, after her first appearance on the track at this level for two years in Birmingham at 1,500m, reverts to her favoured 5,000m in Oslo chasing a second qualifying standard for the World Championships after a good run in America earlier in the season which met GB selection requirements.