Laura Muir: Great Edinburgh Cross Country 'makes you tougher'

Laura Muir
Laura Muir helped win the team relay for Scotland A at last year's Edinburgh event
Great Edinburgh International Cross Country
Date: Saturday, 7 January 2017 Venue: Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One and online from 13:15 GMT

Record-breaking Laura Muir is braced for a different challenge on Saturday when she competes in the relay event at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country.

Three days after breaking the British indoor 5,000m record, the 23-year-old Scot will run the anchor leg for GB in the 4 x 1km race in Holyrood Park.

"I've ran here many times before in the inter district events as a kid.

"I think it makes you that bit tougher, especially Scottish cross county," she told BBC Scotland.

"They are a bit challenging so it's great to get out there across the mud and the different terrain and hopefully stay on two feet."

Muir is relishing the added responsibility of being named GB captain for the Edinburgh event, with the likes of Steph Twell, Beth Potter and Jessica Judd running the women's 6km race, and Sir Mo Farah and Callum Hawkins competing in the men's 8km event.

"It's my first time as GB captain so it's a great honour," she added. "I was really, really proud to be selected considering the athletes in the team.

"To have a GB cap is also a big thing, but to be team captain is very special and where else better to do it than on home soil in Edinburgh."

Muir, who is also studying to be a vet at Glasgow University, will fly to South Africa for winter training after Saturday's race as she prepares for two major events this year.

She hopes to win medals at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade in early March, and outdoors at the World Championships in London in August, after finishing seventh in the 1500m Olympic final in Rio last summer.

"I am pretty hopeful," she said. "The girls that were in front of me, I have beaten them on quite a few occasions. So it is just a matter of getting a good race on the day.

"I think it is definitely within my capabilities of placing higher than I have done previously and hopefully getting up into the medals. I think I am capable of achieving that."

Mo Farah and Laura Muir share a joke before this year's Great Edinburgh Cross Country
Muir 'is one of a few who can fill the boots of Mo Farah' according to Brendan Foster

'You will see Laura Muir with a gold medal'

One observer who agrees is BBC athletics commentator Brendan Foster, a former European and Commonwealth champion and Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist.

Foster hailed Muir's 5,000m indoor record - which took almost 15 seconds off fellow Scot Liz McColgan-Nuttall's previous mark - as a "phenomenal performance".

"I've watched her in action and I know her strength and her speed combined would give her that sort of time," he told BBC Scotland.

"Laura is extremely well respected as an international athlete. The spectators coming to this event will be looking at a real champion."

Foster tips Muir to become one of Britain's headline acts on the track, with Sir Mo Farah concentrating on the marathon after this summer.

"Muir is one of a few who can fill the boots of Mo," he added. "She is phenomenal. The next step for her is to win a title and the European Indoors gives her that chance.

"She's ran at the World Championships [finishing fifth in 2015], she ran the Olympics and at the Commonwealth Games, so she's done her apprenticeship. The thing now is can she go to the next stage and win something?

"The medals will definitely come. There will definitely be a picture on your website where you see Laura Muir with a gold medal."

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Mo Farah comes second in 2016 Great Edinburgh Cross Country

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