Laura Muir wants to use her Edinburgh appearance in the new year to steal a march on her would-be rivals at next summer’s world championships in London.
The Olympic 1500 metres finalist, 23, has been confirmed as the first star name for the Great Edinburgh International XC in Holyrood Park on January 7 with the Perthshire prospect set to lead Scotland’s challenge in the 4x1km relay. It is the start of her build-up to chasing two major medals in 2017 – the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March before taking on the world in August.
And even though the annual Edinburgh event has sometimes offered the most brutal of conditions, there’s no danger of running scared from cross-country, she confirmed.
“I have done it since I was young so I just don’t know any better,” she said. “I guess it is what I have grown up with and trained so I don’t mind the conditions, you just have to have some resolve and take it on the chin. I’m not very good at taking things in when I am racing. I think it is more about the challenge. I like to challenge myself and I guess that is what every athlete does.
“We enjoy pushing ourselves to our limits and in cross country the conditions are tough, the weather is testing and it gives you lots of different challenges and tests you. You find out what you are capable of and I like to go out and see what I can do.”
Muir will aim to set the tone for the season ahead with grand plans to take further leaps forward following her brave but ultimately unsuccessful tilt at an Olympic medal in Rio three months ago.
“It is a matter of training consistently and my coach Andy Young has some great ideas,” she said. “And we are still at quite a low mileage so there are a number of areas where we can push on in terms of endurance and altitude heights as well.
“There is a lot of scope there with the things we can improve on.”
Muir could be joined by some of the Capital’s other leading lights with European finalist Jake Wightman likely to join the British record holder as they try to repeat their 2016 victory.
“We’re delighted that our Athlete of the Year is now pre-selected for Scotland A to defend the Stewart Cup and I’m sure a spell in South Africa over the next month or so will help her preparation,” said ScottishAthletics CEO Mark Munro.
“We will announce further selections in due course and it is very pleasing that, with the assistance of Great Run, we’re able to field a Scotland A and a Scotland B team. That will give eight athletes in total experience and exposure to a big televised cross country event taking place in Scotland and I feel that’s very beneficial and important.”