Laura Muir looks to Euros and ‘double-double’ titles

The superlatives continue to be recast for Laura Muir but the greatest accolades might yet lie ahead. At Arena Birmingham on Saturday, the 25-year-old relentlessly drove herself beyond previous limits, pursuing victory, chasing history, exploring newly-found gears.

Laura Muir celebrates her new British indoor record after winning the women's mile in Birmingham. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Laura Muir celebrates her new British indoor record after winning the women's mile in Birmingham. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images

It delivered a double gain for the Scot, her mile time of 4:18.75 leaving her behind only Genzebe Dibaba and Doina Melinte on the all-time rankings as Kirsty Wade’s British record that had stood since 1988 was bested. Then, once the electronics had spat out their data, it was confirmed she had slashed over two seconds from Kelly Holmes’ existing UK 1,500 metres mark, a precious bonus.

Muir, seemingly, thrives on twin conquests. Hence it was a formality that she was yesterday given the green light to defend her 1,500m and 3,000m titles at next week’s European Indoor Championships in Glasgow, among nine Scots included in a 48-strong British squad. Few would bet against her on a track she knows so well.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“She’s preparing with a view to seriously attempt this double-double,” UK Athletics performance director Neil Black said. “I don’t know if it’s been done before. She’s got a very good chance of being able to do it and deal with all the home pressures.

“I actually think she thrives on that to a degree. I think we’re really going to see something special. And I think there’s the capacity for the whole country to stand still on that Sunday evening for the 1,500m final where hopefully she completes that double-double. I think it will be amazing.”

As expected, Andrew Butchart (3,000m), Eilidh Doyle (400m) and Eilish McColgan (3,000m) were all added to the final line-up for Glasgow when selectors convened after the Grand Prix. McColgan, a European bronze medallist in Belgrade in 2017, came seventh in her event in Birmingham to prove her recovery from illness but the Dundonian is racing against the clock to retrieve her optimal level.

“I have two weeks and if I get recovered and feel that pace, hopefully I can run quickly enough,” she said. “But only time will tell. It’s frustrating. If it hadn’t have been in Glasgow, I probably would have just gone ‘let’s focus on the outdoors’. With it being in Glasgow, my Dad has tickets and my uncles as well. I felt ‘you can’t not be there’. I wanted to be there. I needed to qualify.”

Despite lowering the Scottish indoor 1,500m record to a Europe-leading time of 3:35.72, Josh Kerr’s failure to compete at the UK trials cost the young Scot a probable medal tilt. And Ojie Edoburun, who came last in the final at the trials, is the only male sprinter Glasgow-bound, with team officials under fire for a 60 metres qualifying standard which left several in-form hopefuls, including reigning European champion Richard Kilty, frozen out.

“I understand anyone’s frustration when they feel they can perform but they’re not selected,” Black added. “What we have to do is follow a selection policy. If you don’t, it opens you up to all sorts of things.”