RECORDS are made to be broken, even if this usually happens in epic Olympic finals or in front of frenzied Diamond League crowds in Monaco or Zurich. Instead, Laura Muir's latest piece of world-class distance running unfolded on a low-key midweek show at a half-empty Emirates Arena in Glasgow, albeit with the magic of social media and word of mouth having caused the usual crowd of participants, family members and assorted hangers on who usually frequent these events to swell considerably by the time she took to the track.
Each one of them got far more than they bargained for on Wednesday night, and not just as admittance to these events is free. What they saw was the 23-year-old vet student from Milnathort - already the British record holder in the 1,500m - continuing her comprehensive re-writing of the UK's athletics almanacs with a time of 14.49.12 which took fully 14 seconds off Liz McColgan's 25-year British indoor 5,000m record. Just for good measure, she also became the Scottish 5,000m record holder - either indoors or outdoors - and went under the time being asked for qualification for the European Indoors in Belgrade in March.
The story didn't end there though. There then followed a short lived media storm as McColgan herself - watching with her daughter, and potential 5,000m rival Eilish, on an internet stream in Doha (she would end the day watching Andy Murray in action) - first tweeting her congratulations to Muir then appearing to question the validity of the record on the grounds that she was the only competitor who went the full distance in what was a mixed 3k/5k race. She also questioned whether the correct doping control was in place to ratify the record.
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Clarification on all the above points, though, arrived during the day, not least from McColgan herself, who confirmed in a BBC Scotland radio interview that she was "delighted" to see Muir break the record and hoped she would be in a similarly good shape when the medals are handed out at the European Indoors, not to mention the World Championships in London. While there is always a four-month lag before records can be ratified, British Athletics confirmed that the race was indeed official with a spokesperson quoted as saying "the time will undergo ratification but is expected to be confirmed". A UK athletics head statistician was actually present on site on Wednesday night.
"I actually sat and watched it online," said McColgan, who had set the world record, not just the UK one, when she ran her own 5,000m indoor record, not to mention a young Paula Radcliffe a couple of times. "She's just a fantastic athlete and with her being Scottish that makes it all the more interesting for me to sit and watch. She has worked very, very hard and is really now developing into one of the top athletes in the wold, not just the UK. The time she ran was pretty spectacular. I hope she can maintain that into the summer and can produce when she needs to produce to win a medal.
"Definitely [I'm happy to see her break the record] - that's what it is all about," she added. "Improvement, about setting a high bar that others can follow. She is world class, there is no doubts about it. She just needs to get her race tactics right so she can start winning some medals now."
Muir's coach Andy Young last night told Herald Sport that he had been meticulous with the preparation, even despite some unforeseen complications along the way. With proposed pacemaker Jenny Meadows pulling out just weeks before the event, Muir completed around 16 of the 25 laps by herself.
"We checked beforehand because we knew the possibilities," said Young. "It was great to do it in front of the kids who can see it for free in Glasgow.
"We have been here before with Laura,"he added, "but that was one of the all time great performances of distance running. I am not sure whether people appreciate just how great that was. Jenny phoned a couple of days ago to say that she wasn't going to make it. I haven't assessed the exact point where it broke up but I think Laura ran the last 3k and maybe a bit more on her own. That just makes her time even more remarkable. It really shows mental strength."
Despite previously saying that Muir would focus solely on the 1,500m as long as she keeps improving her time - she is now 13th on the all-time list - Young now accepts that doubling up with the 3,000m in Belgrade and the 5,000m in London is a possibility for his versatile star pupil. While this is something of an unusual double in women's athletics, the schedule for both events - the 5,000m in London follows at a gap from the 1,500m - the schedule is more do-able than you might imagine. First up, though is captaining a British team in the Great Edinburgh cross country on Saturday.
"The 1500m still remains her primary focus, that hasn't really changed," said Young. "But we may do some other 5ks as well because the training marries up pretty well. She is going for Kelly Holmes' 1k record at the British Grand Prix in Birmingham, and she would quite like to go under two minutes for the 800m which I am sure she could do. But she is 23, she has plenty of time for records. The plan all being well is run both the 1500m and the 3k at the European indoors, and we won't rule out the 5k at the World Championships. It is a distinct possibility because of the way the timetable works." There was a Scottish Under-20 Record for the indoor 3000m for Muir’s training partner, Jemma Reekie.