Over two decades on, Musselburgh's finest export remains the only British woman to have landed an individual title at the biennial event. Yet this weekend, in the Polish city of Sopot, her fellow Scot might just prove to have a similar thirst for glory and the will to carve her own slice of history.
Muir, who opens up this morning in the heats of the 800 metres, possesses a curiosity for the greats of the past. Ahead of what could be her breakthrough bid, she confirms a fascination with another Caledonian track legend who had to scrap and scavenge to fulfil his own ambitions.
It is 90 years since Eric Liddell claimed 400m gold at the Paris Olympics, despite the late switch in his plans enforced by his Sabbatarian observance. Retold in 1981's Chariots of Fire, its final sequence was filmed on the north sands of St Andrews. The dramatics, and Vangelis' iconic accompaniment, proved inspirational when Muir ventured to reconstruct the route last year.
"I'd been to St Andrews before but I'd never run along the beach," says the Milnathort native. "I wanted to do it so I went up with my brother. It's one of my favourite films. We always had it on the TV. I had the song on my iPod as well."
Liddell's own mantras resonated deeply within his compatriot. "I always remember the quote in it: 'I won't race if I can't win but then you can't win if you don't race.' I look at that quite often because you can be so nervous and think: 'I don't want to race any more' but then I tell myself I can do this."
Having accelerated on to an entirely different plane since claiming European Under-23 bronze last summer, many seasoned observers sense she can do anything she likes. An exciting prospect but also daunting, she acknowledges.
Moscow, where she reached the semi-finals in last September's world championships, was fresh terrain. So too will be her first trip outside Europe next month, when her coach Andy Young will take his group to California to sweat in the sun.
Disneyland will be incorporated into the itinerary, much to Muir's excitement. Life remains a thrill ride. The novelty of packing a passport in the kit bag has not yet worn off.
"When I was younger, I didn't go out of the country much," she adds. "I'd see my friends heading off but I was focused on school. I didn't have many opportunities to travel so, to have them now, I appreciate it so much."
To watch Muir's fearless victory in Birmingham three weeks ago was to get a glimpse into talent erupting. At just 20, she is right to play down her Sopot hopes. Yet, ranked third, she is undoubtedly a credible challenger.
"A lot of people might think that's quite easy but it looks like you'll have to come first to qualify," she underlines. "And if you're in with another fast girl, it could be pretty tough."
Elsewhere on the opening day. Edinburgh-born Chris O'Hare begins his quest in the heats of the 1500m with 2010 champion Dwain Chambers starting his 60m bid.
n IAAF president Lamine Diack has confirmed proposals have been tabled to include cross country in future outdoor world championships.