Laura Muir: Record breakers keep me on my toes
Her coach Andy Young’s reputation has attracted others seeking a little of this magic dust. Now a wizened performer, the European champion has become the leader of an acclaimed pack.
Yet no longer is she streets ahead on the group’s long Sunday runs in unison. Not with the insurgent Jemma Reekie wrestling away two of Muir’s British records last weekend in New York. Not with the 21-year-old surpassing her training partner’s indoor 1500 metres and mile marks a week after she also took possession of the UK’s 800m best.
“I’m feeling a bit left out,” acknowledged the senior partner yesterday. “Gabi Stafford (another of Young’s group) also set two Canadian records in New York. You had Eloise Walker getting a Scottish junior record in midweek. So I need to try and get one.”
No time like the present, which is why the four-time European indoor champion will today attempt to turn one of her existing continental bests into a world record at the Muller Grand Prix. Maria Mutola’s 1000m benchmark of 2:30.94 is in her sights. “I’m pretty confident,” she said. Her training right on track.
And although Reekie will run separately in the 1500m at the Emirates Arena, her emergence is a potent nudge, Muir concedes. “It’s really exciting for both of us to be in such a good place in an Olympic year because we’re just going to push each other to get faster and faster.”
Reekie has craved such gains since she first rocked up at Beith Harriers in her native Ayrshire at the age of nine. A compulsive runner, she is now in a position to join Muir at Tokyo 2020, not for experience but to challenge. “I never want to just make a team,” she conceded. “I always push to do the best I can. I will keep the same mindset and do the same again.”
It helps massively that her now-contemporary is also a close friend with the pair amiably coping with living side by side, 24 hours per day, during camps overseas. Theirs will not be a Caledonian version of Coe and Ovett’s intense rivalry.
“We’re not going to be avoiding it,” Muir declared. “We train the same. We’re going to be doing the same races – well, same competition. So we’re going to clash at some points definitely.”
Ideally, she hopes, in a final in Tokyo in August. Reekie might yet target the 800m at the Olympics. Muir the 1500m and perhaps one event more. Two Scots in pursuit of the ultimate conquest? The elder will do what she can to lift the burden of hype from the shoulders of her protégé.
“To run amazing times is fantastic,” she proclaimed. “But you need championship experience as well and Tokyo will be her first Olympics. I want her to enjoy that as best as possible, and not have that big bit of pressure.”