ALL Laura Muir wants for Christmas is a level playing field. Even if it means scrubbing the names of a few rivals off her Christmas card list.

Come the end of the 2020 Olympic final in Tokyo this August, Scotland’s distance running phenomenon longs for the chance to collapse to the track knowing that whoever had the most in their legs and in their hearts deserved the medals the most. So far, where it comes to her global finals, where a couple of her key competitors are tainted by association with discredited coaches, sadly that hasn’t necessarily been the case.

Exhibit A in this matter is Genzebe Dibaba, the Ethiopian who Muir followed into the finish in her World Indoors silver and bronze medals in Birmingham in March 2018. Her reputation tarnished due to her involvement with the controversial Jama Aden, the Scot revealed last year the pair weren’t on speaking terms.

Then there is Sifan Hassan, with whom Muir shared the second-place honours in the 1500m and 3000m that fateful weekend in Birmingham. While Muir and Hassan were joined in their outrage at Dibaba 18 months ago, you could say the relationship has since undergone a sticky patch.

When Hassan ran an other-worldly 3.51:95 when taking 1500m world championships gold in Doha at the start of last month, Muir – back in fifth place even in her second-fastest ever time of 3.55:76 - said the performance would unavoidably be under a “cloud” due to the partnership the Dutch athlete has had with Alberto Salazar since 2016. Shockwaves, you will recall, were sent around the sport recently when Sir Mo Farah’s one-time coach Salazar was hit with a four-year ban under the auspices of the US Anti-Doping Agency for trafficking testosterone, using banned infusion methods and tampering with athletes’ records.

Other than Dibaba, only four Chinese athletes, all mentored by the equally controversial Ma Junren in the 1990s, have ever run the distance quicker than Hassan’s Doha run and Muir said yesterday that the pair haven’t spoken since. Unsurprisingly, there have been calls for the World Anti-Doping Agency to open investigations into all athletes who Salazar worked with during this period.

“I’ve not actually seen her [Hassan],” said Muir, whose fifth place finish was in defiance of a recent calf tear. “I didn’t see her at the world champs and I’ve not seen her since.

“But we need these things to come out,” the Scot added. “All we want is a level playing field. There is only so much you can control, that you can do.

“You’ve got to support these things coming out, people getting caught, investigations getting done, because that is what has to happen for the field to be as level as possible.

“I don’t know if I will get that in 2020,” he insisted. “We will never know. The only person I know 100% about is myself. All I know is that I will be there, 100% fine.”

While Muir, and her coach Andy Young, briefly agreed to take on the services of Salazar’s Oregon Project strength and conditioning coach David McHenry during 2018, in retrospect the decision to change tack so quickly was a masterstroke. Even being linked with someone in any way linked with Salazar would have been toxic to an athlete who takes her status as a clean athlete very seriously indeed. While there may be crucial marginal gains to be had in technology (she broke out pioneering Nike shoes during the season) or altitude training, such improvements are only worth pursuing if they can be done ethically.

“I am fortunate that I have got a great team, my coach and the support I get from the medical team as well,” said Muir. “It wouldn’t mean anything to me if I wasn’t 100% a clean athlete. That is what I am all about. I have very high morals in that sense. I want to achieve everything I can, be 100% me. All I can do is focus on myself, that is all I am in control of. I will race whoever is on the start line but do 100% to be the best I can be.

“I know I ran 3.55 a few years ago and there wasn’t the technology there is now,” she added. “So I know I can still run very, very fast just off training very, very hard. I strive to be the best I can be, in as pure a form as possible.”

Lord knows you can let these things eat away at you but Muir has no intention of letting all the noise spoil her love for her profession. “It would really take away from your enjoyment of the sport if you questioned every single race that you are in and everything,” she said. “I love the sport for what it is. I love training and I love racing. If the best I can is fourth or fifth in a race then that is all I can do. But hopefully my best will be good enough to get a medal on the global stage in the future.”

Whatever happens, the 26-year-old’s path to Olympic glory will go through Glasgow. Muir was on her home terrain of the Emirates Arena yesterday to promote the ticket sales of the Muller Indoor Grand Prix and Spar British Athletics Indoor Championships in February.

Having given herself a “solid nine out of ten” for her efforts during 2019 [“10 out of 10 would have been a medal but after what I had been through I don’t think I could have done any more,” she said] her first target of the year will be attempting to get a world medal to call her own over the admittedly little-run distance of 1000m.

The time of 2:31.93 which she ran back in 2017 means she is already the British and European record holder over the distance, and second on the all-time list behind Maria Mutola.

“I have been British and European record holder so it would be really nice to get my very first world record,” said Muir. “And where better to do it than on my home track, in front of a British crowd and where I have such fond memories over the years? I know I am close so it is a realistic ambition and if I could do it here, it would be great. It is a pretty nasty distance - that extra 200 on an 800m - but it is one that I know I am good at.”

**Tickets for the Müller Indoor Grand Prix and the Spar British Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow are on sale and available in limited supply – to secure your place, visit