Scots athletics star Laura Muir treasures her signed David Attenborough picture

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 31, 2017 in Rat News | Subscribe

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LAURA MUIR will take a break from her studies in her quest for gold at the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

The Kinross veterinary student will double up in the 1500 metres – a distance at which she holds the British record and is European Champion – and 5000m in London.

She’ll then complete the final year of her vet’s degree at Glasgow University, a commitment which means she’s unlikely to compete for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in Australia next April.

Muir has always split her time between her two loves, with athletics only achieving equal ranking with animals when she met her coach, Andy Young, at university.

Until then, her role models were local vets and her hero was Sir David Attenborough.

“When I was growing up the veterinary stuff was at the forefront and running was just the hobby,” says Laura.

“It wasn’t until I went to uni and Andy told me I could be really good at this, that I really started taking athletics seriously.

“Attenborough was the huge inspiration to me. I used to love watching all his TV documentaries and reading his books. I could see he had so much love for animals.

“My parents gave me a signed photo of him for Christmas last year, wishing me good luck, and I treasure it.”

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As a teenager Laura, used her running to help fund her own mini menagerie at home.

“I once won £120 for the 800m at a Highland Games – the most I’d ever won – and I spent pretty much all of it on a big new cage for my three pet rats,” she recalls.

“Combining my studies and the training means there’s not much free time in the day, but I manage to fit it all in.

“My coach and the vet school get together to give me the best sort of structure and timetable.

“Monday to Friday, I go for my runs before lectures or vet placements then do sessions and runs again in the evenings.

“I took a gap year after the Olympics, but I still had three months of placements to do. I was at a Dogs Trust in Darlington after Rio and my last placement was at a vet’s in Glasgow in April.

“Since then, I’ve concentrated on the running and don’t see why I can’t combine the two in the future.

“In terms of my athletics, I’m able to train as fully as I need to – even though sometimes it may not be in the most-luxurious locations around the streets of Glasgow.”

Muir broke Dame Kelly Holmes’ British record in London’s Olympic Stadium last year, but her first experience of the venue was more low key than it will be next week.

As a first-year student, she finished eighth in the 3000m at the British Universities and Colleges Championships during the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

“It was one of the test events,” she recalls. “It was my first trip down there, we ran during the day and there wasn’t much of a crowd, just students supporting each other.

“But even though it was pretty empty, you got a sense of what it could be like.

“We applied for tickets for the Games but didn’t manage to get any.

“But I’ve got fond memories of the stadium and I can’t wait to get back for this one.”

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