The women’s 1,500m brought down the cold, windy and rainy house. 2000 socially distanced fans were able to observe one of their favorite athletes let her feet do the talking. The move was surgical. It may not have looked painful, but the swift punch to the gut that Laura Muir gave the field in the last lap of the 1,500 meters gave her 4 seconds on the field.
Is this the same athlete we saw in London in 2017, or Doha in 2019?
No way, Laura Muir is building into shape for a monumental performance or performances in Tokyo.
This is Stuart Weir’s fourth piece on Gateshead DL. But, hey, whose counting?
Laura Muir just showed that she is fit.
Laura Muir, winning again
Laura Muir won the 1500m at the Gateshead Diamond League without the need for any heroics in a time of 4:03.73 with Rababe Arafi (Morocco) second four seconds behind with Katie Snowden third. Muir commented afterward:
“Today wasn’t about times, it was about getting out there and getting a win in front of a home crowd. I’m really, really pleased, I just wanted to sit in and use my strength over the last half, which I did. I’ll have to watch the race back but it went really well. I did feel it in the home straight and it was a shame it was that last 100m as well when you’re tiring, but I still felt really strong. It was lovely to compete on home soil and in front of a crowd. It’s been such a long time”.
A strange coincidence was that in the last major grand Prix event at Gateshead, the British Grand Prix on 10 July 2010, Lisa Dobriskey won 1500 in an almost identical time (4:03.69).
Running a Gateshead 1500 in 4:03 represented a significant improvement for Laura on her previous stadium best of 4:51.83 in a Junior League North Division Premier race. To be fair that was 10 years ago!
Laura was upbeat about her year: “we’ve been dealing with travel restrictions but on the whole, we’ve done really well. I want to thank my coach and agent for sorting me out with races and training camps. But I’ve been fortunate that training went a lot better than the previous winter and I’m excited to put that on the track”. So far this year Laura has run two 800s and three 1500s (one indoors) – three wins and two-second place finishes.
With regard to Tokyo, 1500m will be her main event but she was open to doubling up, saying: “Nothing is set in stone. I still have a few more races before the trials and we will make that decision closer to that. I am unlikely to do 5000m but the 800m is certainly an option.
She expressed excitement at the state of British middle distance running saying: “It’s fantastic. And it was great to see Keely and Max do so well with commanding victories in their events – two athletes who are very young, running very fast times. It is a very interesting dynamic and will make the British championships very exciting”.
Asked whether she was at the stage where she was expecting to win an Olympic medal, she replied: “I don’t think you can expect to win an Olympic medal. It incredibly tough. You have to make the Olympics and then make the final. The competition is extremely strong so I would never expect to get a medal. But the winter has gone really well so it would be hopeful”.
Finally, Laura who is a qualified vet said that she was not working professionally but made a point of reading articles and watching webinars to keep herself up to date. She explained that she felt her studies helped her keep safe in the pandemic: “I think it helps quite a lot because I have done some study in epidemiology. Even before the pandemic I would always have had hand gel and have avoided touching door handles and so on. I think having an understanding about how things are transmitted helps.”.
A talented athlete and a rounded human being.