The Perthshire prospect all but collapsed across the line after ending up just seven seconds behind Under-23 race winner Louise Carton, of Belgium, with fellow Scot Maddie Murray back in tenth. The pair helped Great Britain and Northern Ireland to team gold, contributing to an overall haul of nine medals that topped the standings in Hyeres. But Muir admitted a flurry of fatigue on her last lap slog cost her a place on the podium.
“It was tough. I’m not really sure what happened,” the 22-year-old said. “I ran the race as I had planned to but the last lap was hard and the legs went a bit. The course was good, it suited me as it was quite flat but I could use my strength on the hills. I’m proud of how I ran. I couldn’t have given much more but it just wasn’t my day.”
Muir nonetheless lifted the team trophy. “I’m very proud of the girls, they all ran really well,” added the 22-year-old from Milnathort. “It’s a team effort as much as individual at these Championships so I’m chuffed for them all to get the gold.”
Steph Twell faded from second to sixth on the final lap in the senior women’s race but the Scotland international had the consolation of sharing in team gold as Kate Avery claimed individual silver behind Dutch star Sifan Hassan.
Jonny Davies cruised to the Under-23 men’s title, with Glaswegian hope Luke Traynor 41st. Harriet Knowles-Jones took silver in the junior women’s event with the senior men, paced by 15th place from Tom Lancashire, securing team bronze as Kenyan-born Turk Ali Kaya was crowned European champion.
Meanwhile, Central AC’s Andrew Butchart won the East District XC title at Livingston after missing out on representing GB in Hyeres.
“I wish I had been there but it is my own fault – I should have finished higher in the trial,” he said. “I should not have raced in Liverpool that day as I had been ill the week before. But hopefully I can get picked for GB for the Great Edinburgh XC at Holyrood.”
Butchart led Central AC to Senior Men’s gold for the 12th time in 13 years, with Freya Ross taking a silver medal as Edinburgh AC won the women’s team race and Rachel Haines, of Hunters Bog Trotters, landed gold.