Photo by Bobby Gavin
Laura Muir has highlighted the importance of sport to Scottish culture and society and believes it must be given significant priority.
As Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease, clubs have started to resume training sessions but there remain huge challenges for athletics in Scotland to meet and clear as we strive to recover momentum and growth.
And Olympic finalist and five-times European champion Muir is adamant that everything possible should be done to facilitate a return to full training and event competition.
‘There are so many great reasons for sport, particularly sport for youngsters, to be prioritised and as we make our way out of this latest lockdown,’ said Laura, who previously gave her backing to our Keep On Running campaign.
‘The obvious physical benefits of getting outside and running around are clear for all to see – but the mental and social benefits are just as important.
‘As a child, a lot of times the thing that gets us into a sport, and the thing that keeps us there, is the friendships that you form.
‘Once it’s safe to do so, it’s important to prioritise the return of sport, and the social elements that come with it, for children across the country.’
Muir’s love of running, a passion she can trace to primary school, is only trumped by the sheer delight at the thought of a new generation being motivated by her achievements.
‘I’m so lucky to be able to run for a living and even more thrilled that, by doing that and by talking about my running, I can potentially inspire others to give sport a try.
‘I think that’s the role that we have to play as elite athletes, to tell our story and to continue to do what we love – so that others can see the opportunities and benefits that sport can bring at every level.
‘If reading this article or watching me race gets just one child or one family out today to play sport or try running, then that is a success!
‘I started athletics at about 11 years old through cross country at my primary school. I made it onto the cross country team, where I competed in regional events. I was not winning the races but just absolutely loved running.
‘From then I went to join a local athletics club that one of my friends went to and gradually built up my training.
Laura after winning National XC U20 title in 2012 in of her early successes in a national context
‘I remember how encouraging my primary teacher and headteacher were. I think they just really wanted us to enjoy sport and did not put any pressure on us, which was lovely.
‘Then at the athletics club, I started off in the sprints group like a lot of young athletes do initially, before a middle distance coach started working with the club quite soon after I joined.
‘I think I had always naturally gravitated towards the longer distances so started working with that coach instead and that was me set. I always remember when being down at the track on club nights what seemed like a big group of people all helping one another.
‘Whether it was parents giving kids a lift, various coaches taking different training groups or some of the older athletes looking after the young ones, everyone was so supportive of one another.’
*Laura spoke to the Scottish Daily Mail as part of their Grassroots Sport series.
Tags: Laura Muir