Laura Muir has hailed the progress of athletics in Scotland as a ‘significant seven’ athletes prepare to compete in the world’s top indoor event in Glasgow on Saturday.
The lineup for the weekend showpiece at the Emirates Arena is packed with World and Olympic medallists and tickets were all sold out weeks in advance.
Muir, who races over 800m, will be joined by six fellow Scots across races at 400m, 800m, 1500m and 3000m – a marked improvement on four years ago when Claire Gibson of Kilbarchan AAC was the sole home representative when the Kelvin Hall staged the Glasgow International Match for the last time in January 2012.
In fact, five of the seven are currently based in Scotland with Zoey Clark at 400m and Sarah Inglis at 1500m added to Andrew Butchart at 3000m, Josephine Moultrie and Steph Twell at 3000m and Guy Learmonth at 800 as well as World Champs 1500m finalist Laura. And there are six Scottish coaches currently working with those seven athletes, which is also a positive sign.
‘I’m really excited to be competing in this event because you can see from the number of World and Olympic medallists involved the high level of quality,’ said Laura.
‘This Grand Prix is known as the biggest competition in the world for indoor meets so I’m really looking forward to it and it’s a great line-up. So it is great for athletics in Scotland to have so many athletes competing on Saturday.’
Scots for Glasgow Grand Prix:
Laura Muir (Andy Young) 800m
Guy Learmonth (Rob Denmark/Henry Gray) 800m
Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna) 400m
Sarah Inglis (John Lees) 1500m
Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton) 3000m
Josephine Moultrie (Bill Parker) 3000m
Steph Twell (Mick Woods) 3000m
* We understand, too, that Maddie Murray (John Lees) will start the Women’s 3000m race with a view to pace-making.
Andrew Butchart – indoor appearance at 3000m
‘I heard on Tuesday night that Zoey Clark is in the 400m and Sarah Inglis in the 1500m and I am sure they will be absolutely delighted – and very excited at the thought of running at that level in front of a Scottish crowd.
‘I would think Josephine will feel the same and she even works part-time at the Emirates for Glasgow Athletics Association!
‘For Andrew Butchart it is probably his biggest indoor race, as well, while the likes of Steph, Guy and myself have had some experience in this kind of event before.
‘It is progress when you see people coming through and getting these opportunities. They’ve been earned by good times and good performances and I think it is encouraging.’
Laura – on media duty on Wednesday at the Emirates
Muir, who raced the National Open and the Scottish Unis at the Emirates, is in a classy field for the 800m with Lynsey Sharp having taken a Scottish record at 2.00.30 in Boston last Friday night.
‘It’s great to see that other Scottish girls are up there at a world class level and Lynsey is running really well just now so it’s great to see,’ said Laura, who faced World silver medallist Melissa Bishop and current World lead, Joanna Jozwik, over four laps on Saturday.
‘I think people are quite aware now, we’ve both had a couple of good seasons, Lynsey in 2014 and me in 2015. We’re both getting up there in world class level. It’s great for Scottish athletics. There’s a lot of girls in different age groups all breaking records which is great to see.
‘Whenever I’m racing I don’t go for time, it’s about the race there and then: I run the best I can and hopefully go for the win. If I can finish in the top couple of places or win the race I know the times will come.
‘I was altitude training in South Africa which was a great experience and I got three really good weeks training that weren’t hampered by the winter weather which was really good. So I think I’m in the best place I could be.
‘My cross country results showed that my endurance was good through the winter and now that I’ve ran a couple of good times over 800m my speed is there as well. Both sides of the spectrum are looking good and I’ll have to build on that for the summer.
‘This event will allow me to test myself against a really high quality field. A couple of races I’ve done have just been in Scotland and I’ve had to run by myself so it will be good to push myself against other athletes and get into that racing mind-set again ahead of the summer.
‘This will be my last indoor race so I won’t be racing again until late May or early June. I guess the main focus ahead of Rio will be the British Championships.’
Emirates Arena – Glasgow 2019 bid
The Emirates is bidding to stage the European Championships in 2019 and indeed there have been site visits this week from European Athletics to the Glasgow venue. A loud and enthusiastic crowd on Saturday would only emphasise and underline the enthusiasm for Scotland to stage a big athletics event.
‘Glasgow showed in the Commonwealth Games that support athletes get in Scotland is amazing and fingers crossed for the Euros bid in 2019,’ added Muir.
‘I think we’d be a great host and hopefully this weekend will show what sort of competition they can stage. There’s so many big names coming in all the events so it will be great.’
It is a big weekend for our clubs with young athletes taking part in the semi-finals and finals of the Junior Relays on Saturday within the Glasgow Grand Prix event.
There are details on lane draws and key information on the Events section.