Laura Muir is one of the finest middle distance talents Team GB have seen in some time – and right now that’s a crowded field. But how much do you know about her? Read on for the five things you definitely need to know about the Scottish runner.
She’s a trained vet
Alongside her promising career in athletics thus far, Muir has an impressive fallback option: she is a trained vet. Muir graduated from the University of Glasgow’s prestigious vet school in 2018 while competing at the top level – by 2016 she was already breaking records, and she won her first senior outdoor gold medal at the European Championships in August 2018.
‘It was really tough,’ she told Runner’s World UK in 2018. ‘I was often running to lectures, being at vet school all day. But you just have to train afterwards, you have to be flexible in your running.’
There’s one race in particular she would like to have another go at…
Back in 2014 Muir was running in the women’s 1500m final at the Commonwealth Games. With just 100m to go, she was sitting comfortably around third or fourth place, but at a crucial moment she was clipped from behind, and finished in 11th place.
She said, ‘I guess it wasn’t really my fault, but if I could do it again I would probably just make sure I was well out of the way of anyone in that last 100m, so I could actually finish properly.’
She’s the owner of a historic ‘double-double’ record
In 2019 Muir became the first athlete in history to achieve the ‘double-double’ – two golds at two successive competitions – at a European Indoor Championships. She won gold in the 1,500m and 3,000m, repeating her success in the same races at the Belgrade Championships in 2017.
It was a convincing win on Muir’s home turf of Glasgow, beating second place Sofia Ennaoui by nearly four seconds. It also helped the British team to a record haul of 12 medals.
Muir’s coach, Andy Young, said of her new record: ‘She's racking up the medals and wins in unbelievable style. So she's a proper world star - beginning to move into a world star of sport, never mind athletics.’
She’s been praised by British athletics royalty
In British middle-distance running, there are few individuals whose praise matters more than Seb Coe. After Muir’s exceptional performance in Glasgow, Lord Coe didn’t hold back his compliments for the Scottish runner.
According to The Guardian, Coe said, ‘There is absolutely no question she could win gold at 2020. ‘She’s come on a bundle. The difference between the good and the great is the ability to change pace, whether it’s breaking clear of defenders or running clear of a pack. That’s what she’s got.’
Neil Black, who was performance director of UK Athletics at the time, echoed Coe’s praise: ‘She clearly has the ability and she has demonstrated the performances that suggest a gold medal in Tokyo is possible. And I think she is moving towards almost being a phenomenon. She is joining the Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah type group. Obviously, there is a little way to go but that’s the journey she is on.’
Her diet is remarkably clean – she doesn’t even drink coffee
Even for an elite runner, Muir’s diet is extremely strict. She tends not to drink alcohol, for example. ‘It’s not something I’ve been overly bothered by,’ she told RW earlier this year. ‘If someone gave me the option of drinking chocolate milk or wine, I’d choose the milk.’
That philosophy even extends to other substances. In an interview with The Guardian in 2018, she said she could count the number of paracetamol she had taken in her life on one hand.
She said, ‘There is medication out there that is perfectly fine to take – like paracetamol – but if something is sore I don’t want to mask it. Yeah, you can take something if your Achilles flares up but I like to work through the pain.’
She limits protein shakes to the recovery period after a championship. During and after training sessions she prefers to keep it natural – water and a banana does the trick. She doesn’t even drink coffee.
‘I tried it once but it made my heart race,’ she said.
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