Published On: Mon, Jul 31st, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Laura Muir poised to live up to Kelly Holmes and Paula Radcliffe comparisons


Laura Muir has been compared to some of the greats GETTY

Laura Muir has been compared to some of the greats

That is the burden for Laura Muir who heads into the World Championships in London having been described as having the speed of an actual Dame, Kelly Holmes, and the endurance of marathon legend Paula Radcliffe.

Former army sergeant Holmes shot to superstardom after winning double Olympic gold at 800m and 1500m in Athens in 2004 and Radcliffe, the 2005 world marathon champ, still holds the world record for the distance as well as winning the London and New York Marathons three times.

Muir, 24, the 5ft four-and-a-half inch running metronome from Inverness, will need both those attributes as she bids for a golden double over 1500m and 5000m on home territory.

Britain’s newest star, though, has no issues with the comparison with Holmes and Radcliffe, saying: “The two of them are legends in athletics terms not just in British terms.

“To be linked with just one of them let alone two is very humbling for me. Hopefully I can get to the point where they were at during my career.

“I just want to achieve as much as I can in athletics. I’ve always said I only ever did running because I love the sport and I think that’s why I can work so hard and commit 100 per cent to it.”


To be linked with just one of them let alone two is very humbling for me

Laura Muir


Muir will begin her quest with the 1500m heats on Friday evening on the night the championships start when Mo Farah begins his bid for a golden double farewell to the track before his switch to the road as he looks to win the 10,000m for the third time in a row.

Already Muir is being hailed as the successor to Farah as Britain’s next bankable gold medallist at the major championships after her 1500m and 3000m double at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March.

The Glasgow University veterinary student has set a succession of British and European records indoors and out over distances from 1000m to 5000 and last year clocked the fastest time in the world over 1500m with 3:55.22.

That came in Paris, not long after she had finished seventh in the 1500m Olympic final in Rio. Now Muir is ready to confirm her growing presence on the global stage with a fearless attitude to the demands of her heavy schedule.

“I like to push my body,” said Muir. “The 1500m is all done-and-dusted before the 5000m starts so there’s no problems there.”

The 1500m final is on Monday night, with the heats of the 5000m on Thursday before the final on Sunday week, the final day of the championships.

“The chance was there and the timetable has worked in my favour, so I thought I might as well take the opportunity,” said Muir.

“A home championship maybe only comes round once in a lifetime so I just want to go out there and make the most of it. I showed in the indoor season that I could run a world-class 3km so I am confident of running a very good 5km.

“I feel like I belong on the start line at a major championships where maybe before I was a bit tentative. 

“I am confident in my ability and I just want to get there and run the best races that I can. That’s all I can do.”

When her coach Andy Young likened Muir to Holmes and Radcliffe, he added that his tenacious athlete did not suffer the injuries that denied the others more honours. 

Then came a stress fracture in her foot which cost her a couple of weeks training in June and raised questions marks about whether she should attempt the double.

Some say Laura Muir has the same endurance as marathon legend Paula RadcliffeGETTY

Some say Laura Muir has the same endurance as marathon legend Paula Radcliffe

But Muir insists: “I am getting stronger and stronger every week and running without any pain so I am really happy with it. I am running completely normally.”

Muir has taken time off from her veterinary studies since Rio but has still had to fit-in work placements that come with the studying.

She said: “It is pretty much all practical work so I have been working in the lab, vets centres and doing some dogs’ trust work.

“I have also been at the vet school and was involved with doing surgeries and other treatments on animals which was good. It is tough, though.

“It is hard when you have to get up for an early run, you are on your feet all day watching operations or doing operations and you get back, you are knackered and you just want to sit down, but you have to go and smash a big session.

Kelly Holmes shot to superstardom after winning double Olympic gold at 800m and 1500m in Athens in 2004GETTY

Kelly Holmes shot to superstardom after winning double Olympic gold at 800m and 1500m in Athens in 2

“Veterinary work is what I want to get into – but hopefully I have a few years ahead of me at the track yet.”

Muir showed a side-step Kenny Dalglish would have been proud of when she avoided a fussy official in Belgrade trying to stop her lap of honour after a 1500m victory when she shattered the 32-year-old record with 4:02.39.

She is not expecting a similar problem if she has the chance to set-off with the Union Jack flag to celebrate in front of the British crowd at a packed London Stadium.

“The crowd will have something to say about that if I don’t get around on a lap of honour,” said Muir. “I think I’ll be okay in London.”


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