Laura Muir has become accustomed to producing the spectacular, but Milnathort’s very own Pocket Rocket once again illustrated her emergence as a global force by breaking the European indoor 3000 metres record at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Karlsruhe.
The 23-year-old left Olympic silver medallist Hellen Obiri in her wake as she blew past a convoy of back markers to burst clear off the final bend to win in 8:26.41, surpassing Liz McColgan’s long-standing British best which was set four years before she was born.
“I made sure on the last 200m that I had a kick finish in me,” Muir revealed. “I knew with my sprint, I should be able to have her. With the other girls a lap behind coming up, I told myself to keep the inside lane going into the bend and then really went for it.”
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It was the fifth-quickest outing at the distance of all time, meaning Muir has now set three UK records inside a year with a maiden major title firmly in her sights at next month’s European Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
In Belgrade, the aim will be a 1500-3000m double, she has confirmed. However, another landmark effort will be the goal in her next appearance at the Muller Grand Prix in Birmingham in 12 days' time. “I will try to run a British record over 1000 metres,” she said. “And then I will prepare myself for the Europeans.”
From one flying Scot to another and, this time – hopefully – it’s official. Callum Hawkins is the Scottish half-marathon record holder again after winning the Kagawa Marugame International in Japan in exactly 60 minutes on Sunday.
It came just six days after the 24-year-old was stripped of the national record when it was confirmed that last year’s Great Scottish Run, where he took victory, was 149.7 metres short of the required distance.
But Hawkins emphatically slashed 24 seconds off the time he set in Glasgow by bolting to the front from the outset and then finally breaking his lone challenger, Kenya’s Abraham Kipyatich, with back-to-back personal bests over 10km.
Afterwards, he Tweeted: “Ranked number one in the world. Holy s@#$.”
The Kilbarchan prospect, ninth in the marathon at last summer’s Olympics in Rio, eventually finished 58 seconds clear of Ethiopian record holder Atsedu Tsegay to establish a mark that sits second only to Mo Farah on the UK all-time list for half-marathon distance and took fourth place in the overall European rankings, with Allister Hutton’s previous Scottish record of 62:28 now firmly consigned to the history books.
With his selection for August’s world championships in London already confirmed, the Scot is now set to run the New York half-marathon next month after opting out of running the London Marathon in April.
Bahrain’s Olympic silver medallist Eunice Kirwa won the women’s race in 1:08:07.
And there's more . . . Andy Butchart ran the third quickest indoor mile ever by a Briton in his debut at the event to comprehensively earn victory at the Armory Meeting in New York. The Olympic finalist, who claimed the Scottish 3000m record in Boston seven days earlier, set a world leading time of 3:54.23 to narrowly miss Chris O’Hare’s national mark.
But Butchart, who will skip next weekend’s British Championships in Sheffield in favour of the Millrose Games in the Big Apple, said: “I’m really focused on outdoors. This is a bit of fun for me. This isn’t my event – I don’t think so anyway. I’ll come back here next week over 3k and see what happens. But I’ll take that.”
Elsewhere, Eilidh Doyle maintained her unbeaten start to 2017 by winning the 400m in Mondeville in 53.36 secs, Guy Learmonth lowered his 800m indoor personal best for the second time in seven days by coming third in Karlsruhe in 1:47.04 while Lynsey Sharp was fourth in the 600m in New York in 1:27.16, taking second place on the all-time Scottish list.
It once again illustrated the feelgood factor currently overflowing through Scottish athletics where homegrown performers have occupied the top spot in the world rankings in six separate events so far this year.
“I saw what Andy and Callum had done when I woke up,” Muir added.
“I was thinking: ‘it’s not just me.’ They’d done very well. Guy got a PB too. We’re all doing well.”
Heather Paton, meanwhile, equalled Gemma Werrett’s Scottish 60m hurdles record of 8.34 seconds with victory in Dublin on Sunday.