Laura Muir: Commonwealth Games absence 'set in stone' but World Indoors looms large

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Laura Muir begins indoor season with gold medal

It may surprise some that Laura Muir will not be competing at the Commonwealth Games in April, when an obvious chance to boost her major medal collection beckons.

But the Scot has known for some years that Australia's Gold Coast would not be on her horizon in 2018.

Muir, from Milnathort near Kinross, is in the last year of her veterinary studies at the University of Glasgow, with her final exams in May.

Despite senior Scottish athletics officials voicing hopes she might change her mind, the 24-year-old is adamant she is sticking to her original plan.

"It was a decision that was made a good few years ago that I knew I wasn't going to be running there," Muir told BBC Scotland.

"It wasn't going to work out with my final year of vet medicine, my finals in May and placements all the way up to the end of April.

"It will be difficult not to be there. You want to race as much as you can.

"I think if it was a little bit closer you might be able to get away with it, but Australia is a little bit difficult so no, I'm afraid it's kind of set in stone that I'm not doing it."

If anyone thinks Muir is putting athletics on the back-burner though, after a highly successful 2017, they should think again.

After breaking the British indoor 5,000m record, winning double gold at the European Indoor Championships and finishing fourth in the 1500m and sixth in the 5,000m at last summer's (outdoor) World Championships in London, Muir still has plenty of targets this year.

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European Indoor Athletics: Laura Muir storms to 3,000m gold

Foremost in her thoughts is the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham from 1-4 March.

"I'm really excited to have another home championships, and another great crowd, after the [outdoor] World Championships last year," she said.

"I'm hopefully going to get there and run another good performance."

Muir has yet to decide if she will double up in the 1500m and 3,000m, as she did last year at the European Indoors in Belgrade.

Organisers have now made the 3,000m a straight final, on Thursday 1 March, with the 1500m heats the following evening and the 1500m final on Saturday, 3 March.

"The timetable does allow for the two but I am not sure yet whether I am doing two or just the one," Muir explained.

She kicked off her preparations by finishing fifth in a men's 3,000m race at the Glasgow Athletics Association Miler Meet on Sunday, claiming the Scottish women's 3,000m title in the process.

Laura Muir competes at the GAA Miller Meet in Glasgow on Sunday
Muir ran 8:37.21 in Glasgow, more than 10 seconds outside her indoor 3,000m best

Muir came home in 8:37.21, almost 11 seconds outside her personal best, but was happy with her first competitive outing of the year after some warm-weather training in South Africa.

"I set a really good pace but it was really good to get out there and get the first race of the season done," she said.

"I think it sets up a good momentum for the year and this gives you that benchmark you can work on throughout the year.

"I'm reasonably happy. You always want to run a wee bit faster. I'm excited for the next few months."

Muir will return to the Emirates Arena for the Scottish Senior Indoor Championships on 28 January, where she has entered the 800m and 1500m.

Before that, she will target a fourth straight victory in the 4x1km relay at this Saturday's Great Edinburgh Cross Country in Holyrood Park.

Later in the year, there is an opportunity to add to her senior medal collection with the (outdoor) European Championships in Berlin from 7-12 August.

'So many chances in so many different events'

But in April, Muir - like the rest of us - will watch her compatriots in Commonwealth action in Australia from afar, in between studies and exams.

So which Scottish athletes does she think might come back from Australia with a medal?

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Gold Coast 2018: At least four medals the target for track & field Scots

"I think all of them are so so strong just now," she added.

"We saw last year how much Eilish (McColgan, 5,000m) has improved.

"Andrew Butchart (5,000m) is knocking on the door, Lynsey (Sharp, 800m) as well. Steph (Twell, 5,000m), they're all knocking on the door of the Kenyans and depending on how the race is run, I think any of them has a really good chance.

"You get the likes of Eilidh (Doyle, 400m hurdles), two silvers (at Glasgow 2014 and Delhi 2010), she always goes out there and runs a great race. And we've got so many good relay runners.

"I think we've got so many chances in so many different events."

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