LAURA Muir had to give a jobsworth Serbian steward the slip to indulge in a lap of honour when she won double European Championships gold in Belgrade last year but thankfully last night in Birmingham she was given dispensation to savour her first global medal to the full. The 24-year-old, an agonising fourth placed finisher over 1500m at the outdoor World Athletics Championships in London last summer, went one better as she claimed a fine bronze medal over 3,000m in a storming finish on day one of the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships. As much credit as she deserves for taking the next step in her burgeoning career, much kudos is also due to her UK Athletics taxi driver, who delivered her safe and sound after a mad dash through the frozen tundra of the M74 and M6 after two flights out of Glasgow were cancelled due to the weather.

This was Scotland's first individual World Indoors medal for 25 years and considering Muir ran away from last summer’s outdoor 5,000m winner Hellen Obiri of Kenya and appeared to be finishing stronger than the two best athletes in one of the best 3,000m fields the world has ever seen, hopes continue to burn bright that there may be many, many more global medals ahead. While Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, a two-time winner of this title, and indoor world record holder over both 1,500m and 3,000m was a deserving winner in 8.45.05, it certainly could have been silver, had Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands not been streetwise enough to veer out of her lane to fend off a late surge from the Scot, Muir finish a mere tenth of a second back in a season’s best of 8.45.78. While she was definitely feeling it as she lay prone on the track afterwards, who knows it may not even be Muir’s last global of the weekend, with the 24 -year-old – and her fellow Scotland, GB and Dundee Hawkhill Harriers team-mate Eilish McColgan, who finished tenth in 9.01.32 – pitched back into the heats of the 1500m as early as today.  

“We had to put yesterday behind us; six hours in the car, windscreen wipers were frozen but we got here and I’ve won a medal, I couldn’t be happier," Muir said afterwards. "I ran the race as hard I could; I was so tired at the end. It means so much to me to get the win; it bodes well for the rest of the year, especially the Europeans.

“I’ve been 4th, 6th and 7th at major championships so the bronze is very special. To finally get that world medal means so much; I’m delighted.

“I just wanted to stay out of trouble at the start; Klosterhalfen took over the pace so everything went to plan. I knew I could be strong at the end so I’m very pleased.”

"I was hurting on that last lap but I had to dig deep and I got a medal,” she added. “The crowd were great and good on them for coming out to support. I'll have to see my therapist and speak to my coach but now it's a matter of refuelling and going again tomorrow. I can't describe the feeling, it's brilliant. To get a European medal was brilliant but to get one on the world stage in a world class 3000m, to come through that field, I'm very happy." 

In every sense, it has taken Muir quite a journey to get to this point. Keen to continue her vet studies until the 11th hour – a double life in her final year of university which has kept her from representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in April - Muir knocked off a couple of hours early on Wednesday but subsequently saw two flights out of Glasgow Airport cancelled due to the inclement weather before hailing a UK Athletics taxi down to the Birmingham Arena. It was little wonder that she arrived at the venue after 11pm on Wednesday night with words of praise for her driver.

As witnessed in Belgrade, there is something about Muir’s small build and economical and ultra-efficient running style which makes her perfect for indoor running. But a bit like Andy Murray in tennis prior to his 2012 US Open, perhaps the thought had crossed Muir’s mind that it may be her fate to fall just short when pitted against competition at world level which is among the best of any era, with the Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal equivalents in this analysis being the likes of Dibaba and Obiri.

Okay, so an out of sorts Dibaba had trailed in dead last when Muir finished an agonising fourth in the 1500m (and sixth behind a triumphant Obiri in the 5000m) at last year’s outdoor equivalent of this event in London last summer, but you had to remember that this astonishing 27-year-old Ethiopian had run five seconds quicker than anybody else in the field over the distance this year, and fully 15 seconds quicker than Muir. Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, Shelby Houlihan,of the USA both had faster 3,000m times on their resume this year too. McColgan might have followed Muir to a European bronze medal in Belgrade last year, but after years of injury and frustration, she was happy to competing amongst such exalted company again as she warms up for a proper medal bid for Scotland at the Gold Coast but she was chiding herself last night.

"I don't quite know what went wrong to be honest," said McColgan. "It felt very flat and sluggish and when the race went I tried to go and there was nothing there. I suppose I have to forget about it now and try to not make the same mistakes again tomorrow and come out again and be competitive. I have to almost forget about today as soon as it has happened and move on to the next one now.

"Since coming back from my last training camp things haven't clicked. Training has been going really well up to that point but I have felt a little bit flat. I am so disappointed with that today, with it being a home championships I wanted to be competitive And today I wasn't." 

The pace was slow, eerily slow at first, a state of affairs which the likes of Klosterhalfen and Dibaba could not allow to continue with fast finishers like Hassan around. At first, when the pace was increased, it seemed as though Muir might be left battling it out for bronze behind Dibaba and Obiri, but the Kenyan cracked and even the Ethiopian was wabbling down the final straight. All possibilities were there for Muir after a canny tactical race, but the 24-year-old will take this bronze medal. Assuming the exertions of the 48 hours haven’t too much out of her, you sense she is only getting stronger.