Laura Muir ready to give all again in second bid for glory

Laura Muir admits that the 5,000m remains a bit of a leap into the unknown for her but has vowed to give every ounce of effort once again as she tries to go better than the agonising fourth place in her favourite 1,500m.

Laura Muir in the middle of the pack in the women's 1,500m final. Picture: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Laura Muir in the middle of the pack in the women's 1,500m final. Picture: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Scot lost the bronze medal by just seven hundredths of a second as South Africa’s champion 800m runner Caster Semenya pipped her on the line at the end of a dramatic world championships final in London on 
Monday night.

The 24-year-old student vet from Milnathort must shake off that disappointment and embrace the fact that she has another shot at doing what only one other Scot has done before her and win an individual world medal.

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As it stands it is another from Dundee Hawkhill Harriers who holds that distinction, with Liz McColgan’s iconic 10,000m gold in Tokyo back in 1991 remaining the only time a solo Scot has got on the podium at an event which has been running since 1983.

The total number of Scots to win medals at the world championship is an exclusive club, with Dougie Walker in the 1997 4x100m relay the only male member. Lee McConnell already had a couple of relay gongs before getting another two upgraded recently, while Eilidh Doyle’s 4x400m bronze from Moscow two years ago is now a silver.

There was hope that double European indoor champion Muir could add to that on Monday, tempered by the fact that she had missed the 
earlier part of the outdoor season with a stress fracture in her foot and the fact she was facing one of the best women’s 1,500m fields ever assembled.

Muir might look back and regret not putting on a bit more pace in a restrained opening two laps to take the finish out of some of her rivals but, after her injury problems, believes she did everything she possibly could in a race won by Kenyan Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon, with American veteran and former world champion Jenny Simpson taking silver in a breathtaking finish.

“I ran as hard as I could right to the line,” said Muir. “There was nothing I could’ve done about it when they came past me. I gave myself the best chance I could and I just wasn’t strong enough for that last ten metres.

“I covered every move that I could have done but the other girls were just faster on the day and there is nothing I can do about it.

“I knew when I crossed the line that it had just gone. I could tell Caster was a fraction ahead of me but there is nothing I can do about it. I ran as hard as I could and fourth was what I got.”

Muir felt good and was building good form coming into the championships and refused to use the injury as an excuse but, naturally, couldn’t help wondering if things could have been different if she had a 
completely injury-free season.

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She said: “I was in the pool for two weeks [while injured] and missed sessions for the best part of three weeks so you wonder if that would have made a difference but I had a lot of support from my coach and the British Athletics medical staff so I am very grateful I am able to be here and to compete for a medal. I’m gutted but happy to be here.”

Muir goes again tomorrow in the 5,000m heats, joined by 
fellow Scots Steph Twell and Eilish McColgan, and said: “The 5,000m is a bit unpredictable for me because I am very inexperienced in that event. I have only run the event twice – once was four years ago – so I’ll have to see how I feel.

“Hopefully I can run well but it is still a very new event for me. I have got three days to recover so that is plenty of time. I am used to running hard day in day out so that is plenty of time for me.”

GB captain Doyle completed her heat ahead of Muir’s final on Monday and paid a glowing tribute to her fellow Scot.

“Laura is one of those runners that the whole team admires,” said the 400m hurdler. “Everybody says she is one of their favourites because she is so gutsy.

“In the team hotel she is so quiet and inconspicuous, almost timid, then you see her on the track and she is a completely different person. She is fierce. A warrior.

“I think she’s brilliant, she’s my absolute favourite and I’ll be proud of her whatever she does.”

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While Muir’s fourth place or, for that matter, the same position Scotland’s Callum Hawkins achieved in Sunday’s marathon, cannot be regarded as failures, there is a bit of pressure building on a home team who were set a target of six medals.

As it stands, Mo Farah’s 10,000m gold on the opening night is the solitary success, with several other hopes, including Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the heptathlon, Andrew Pozzi in the 100m hurdles and Sophie Hitchon in the women’s hammer, falling short.

But the team captain insists there is no panic. “The mood is positive,” said Doyle.

“Obviously Mo set it up on the first night. Although we’ve not got medals, you’ve got people like Callum finishing fourth, Reece [Prescod] making the final of a men’s 100m in his first championship, Kyle Langford who smashed it to make the 800m final.

“We’re not quite making it on to the podium as yet but that’s the future you’re seeing out there.”