The Scottish star broke Kelly Holmes’ British 1500m record in the run-up to Rio and is now looking to build on that in Brazil
If Laura Muir wanted to make a statement ahead of Rio, breaking a British record which had been set by an iconic double Olympic champion during a gold medal-winning Games run is certainly one way to do it.
Clocking 3:57.49 in front of a roaring home crowd at last month’s Müller Anniversary Games, Muir took 0.41 off the British 1500m record Holmes had set when storming to her second Olympic gold in Athens in 2004. That time puts her second behind Kenya’s world silver medallist Faith Kipyegon in this summer’s rankings, with only four athletes having run quicker in 2015. And that’s by an athlete who wasn’t even aiming for times in 2016.
“This year was all about Rio,” says the 23-year-old, as we discuss her superb season so far. “I wasn’t really too fussed about what times I ran this year, but to run the ones I have done I’m really, really pleased.
“It was over so quickly,” she adds of her British record-breaking run. “Before I knew it the race was finished and I’d done it. It was just amazing. When I was going around the crowd was just getting louder and louder – it was crazy. I thought to myself ‘just keeping going to that finish line, I can’t give up now!'”
The fine times started coming right at the beginning of the season, when the University of Glasgow veterinary medicine student opened up by coming close to her 800m PB before setting a Scottish mile record of 4:19.12 in Oslo. That followed a strong 2015 summer season too, as Muir proved her potential with a win in Oslo before finishing fifth at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
Such performances could bring with them a certain level of expectation and pressure ahead of the Games, but refreshingly the British champion only sees it as a positive thing.
“I don’t see expectation as pressure as such now,” she says. “I feel like they are just wanting me to do well and they recognise that I am running well, so I can see it like that.
“I’m not really putting any expectation on myself, I just want to go out there and run as best I can on the day and if that brings home a medal then great and if not then I have given everything I can give.
“I’m honoured to have broken the record and I just hope I can do it justice really.
“What she did was phenomenal,” Muir adds, reflecting on Holmes’ achievements. “I’ve done one footstep, hopefully I can follow in a few others.”