On February 16, 2019, at the Arena Birmingham, Laura Muir set a new British indoor mile record of 4:18.75, the third fastest mile in indoor history. En route, Laura Muir broke her own 1,500m NR, with a fine 4:01.83. The race had many British fans, including the 7,500 in the arena and the millions watching from home, cheering for the gutty Scottish distance runner as she ran the final 700 meters all by her lonesome. Hitting the 800m in 2:12, Laura Muir covered the final 800m in 2:06.5, with a final 400 meters under 62 seconds!
What a way to end the Muller Indoor! The question is, who is this young women, on the cusp of global stardom, and why is she the marquee final event in many of the British events? Why does meet director Spencer Bardenrrr confidently place an event with Laura Muir at the end of the meetings, knowing that she is, next to Mo Farah, one of the biggest draws of British Athletics?
Well, read on, kind readers.
In July 2014, Laura Muir took 11th in the Commonwealth Games 1,500m, in 4:14.21. A month later, the young Scot made it to the heats of the 1,500m at the European Outdoor Champs in August 2014.
In March 2015, Laura took 4th in the European Indoor Champs. She was continuing to develop. Coach Andy Young brought Laura Muir along in 2015 to a wonderful peak in August 2015, wherer she took fifth in a tough 1,500m at the Beijing World Championships. In the heat and humidity of Beijing, Laura handled the heats and final well.
That is no mean feat.
The 1,500m and 5,000m, on the women’s and men’s athletics schedules, are two of the toughest events to master. Getting through the rounds is one thing, and then, racing against the finest distance runners in the world in the finals is another.
Prior to the Olympics, Laura Muir ran a NR of 3:55.22 at the Paris DL in July 2016. Muir was world class, and now a medal contender. But, medal contender does not mean medal winner each time. This is a sport, not professional wrestling.
At the 2016 Olympics, in the 1,500m, Laura Muir finished seventh in 4:12.88. The medals went to Faith Kipyegon, Genzebe Dibaba and Jenny Simpson. It was cold in Rio, and the heats were unforgiving.
In 2017, Laura opened the season with a fine indoor 5,000m in Glasgow, in 14:49.12 in January. After the 5000m NR, Laura Muir ran an 8:26.41 ER for 3000m in Karlsuhe, indicating that she would be ready for Belgrade in March! rr2017 would be a big year for Laura Muir. In Belgrade, in March 2017, Laura won the 1,500m in 4:02.39 with a scarily long kick, breaking an MR of two plus decades. The 1,500m was most scary as Laura Muir exposed herself to some tough kickers. In the 3,000m, Laura took off with a 1000m to go, winning in another MR of 8:35.67. Laura Muir continued to build up the hopes of her home country fans.
The London 2017 World Championships was pressure city for Laura Muir. Her coach announced a double of 1500m/5000m, it was questioned, pondered and questioned once again. In the 1,500m, her best shot at a medal, Laura Muir did all she could to medal, and was caught on the final 50 meters, having been passed by Jenny Simpson (silver), with Faith Kipyegon (gold) and finally, in a gut wrenching final charge, by Caster Semenya (bronze). Laura Muir finished 4th in 4:02.97. In the 5,000m, she placed sixth in 14:52.07.
This writer agrees with Coach Young. The double was the right thing to do. The 1,500m was not affected by the 5,000m, held a week later. The London 2017 showed Laura Muir what she was capable of doing. Some fine tuning was needed before she battled the world once again.
In 2018, Laura Muir took two medals at the 2018 World Indoor Champs in snowy Birmingham. Just getting to Birmingham was a challenge, taking ten hours by car from Scotland. In the 3,000 meters, Laura Muir took the bronze medal from Genzebe Dibaba in gold, and Sifan Hassan in silver. Laura Muir took off with a 1000m to go, running 8:45.72. In the 1,500m, Laura moved up to silver, catching Sifan Hassan with 500m to go, and pushing the pace the rest of the race, running 4:06.23. Genzebe Dibaba took the gold. In Birmingham, Laura Muir showed some sophistication in her race tactics, which took some of the sting away from London 2017 criticism.
The European Championships in Berlin were the finest event on the global stage in 2018. Laura Muir took the 1,500m with a long drive to the finish, running 4:02.32. In the final big race of the season, Laura Muir won Brussels 1,500m in 3:58.49, taking out her Prefontaine nemesis, Shelby Houlihan, in the process. Laura Muir showed her continued evolution, and that she could race with the big medal kickers, as she prepares for Doha 2019 and Tokyo 2020. As Muir knows, she will see Shelby Houlihan once again.
As 2019 comes to the first big test, Laura Muir has the speed and endurance to win the 1,500m and 3,000m in Glasgow, This does not mean that Konstanza Klausterhalfen and Alina Reh will not do all to rain on the Scot’s parade, but the 1:59.49 run on 6 February, and the 56.4 last 400m run at the British champs in the finish of the 3,000m on February 9, as well as the 4:01/83/4:18.75 run for the 1,500m/Mile on Feb. 16 shows that Andy Young and Laura Muir should have much confidence in performing well March 1-3, 2019 at the Emirates Arena.
We wish Laura Muir, the focus of hopes for GBR, much luck. She is a much more seasoned athlete than in 2014.
And most of all, she is ready to race!