Muir opens season with 8:37.21 3000m clocking

Muir opens season with 8:37.21 3000m clocking
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Laura Muir opened her season with a fast 8:37.21 3000m clocked in a mixed race in Glasgow 

Laura Muir showed how much she wants to challenge herself this year after her sensational 2017 by opening her season in a mixed race on Sunday (7) at the GAA Miler Meet in Glasgow.

The Brit made a good start to her winter campaign, securing the Scottish national title in 8:37:21 in a race won by her training partner Sol Sweeney in 8:19.03. Muir will be targeting the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham twelve months after the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade where she won a sensational 1500m and 3000m double.

“The first kilometre was quite fast and maybe I got a bit excited at the start which made the end quite painful,” said Muir. “But I am quite happy with it overall, even though I would like to run faster.”

Her time was almost eleven seconds outside her European record from Karlsruhe last year but these are early days for Muir, who is also deep into her veterinary studies.

She will be preparing hard with both her university work and her plans for Birmingham in two months’ time where she will look to impress again. Her win here at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow was another step on the road to next year’s European Athletics Indoor Championships at the venue where her events will be the hottest ticket in town.

Muir finished fifth overall and she will return to competitive action on Saturday at the Great Edinburgh XCountry where she will race in the 4x1km relay.

“It is great to get this under my belt,” Muir told the Herald Scotland. “My training has been going really well this year, even though it has been difficult over the past weeks battling against the ice and snow. I am excited with what my training has been showing and by March, I should be ready to run something much quicker.”

In a separate 3000m race in Glasgow, Melissa Courtney stopped the clock at 8:55.10. 

Top U20 pole vault prospects impress

It is one of those exciting times of the year where the indoor season is just starting to build up and the road and cross country season remains in full swing.

In Leverkusen on Sunday, Germany’s Bo Kanda Lita Baehre showed he is in superb form again. The silver medallist from last summer’s European U20 Championships in Grosseto landed an indoor personal best of 5.50m, beating the very experienced Malte Mohr who cleared 5.40m.

These are heady days for Norwegian athletics and 16-year-old Pal Haugen Lillefosse underlined his vast potential with a breakthrough performance in Stockholm on Saturday (6), adding 14 centimetres to his lifetime best with a Norwegian U20 record of 5.46m, the third best mark of all-time by an U18 vaulter.

In terms of international experience, Lillefosse prevailed at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Gyor, Hungary last July and he will be one of the stars at the second edition of the European Athletics U18 Championships which will also be staged in Gyor.

Volko breaks Slovakian 300m record

Jan Volko, who won the European U23 200m title in Bydgoszcz in July, wrote his name into history in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Saturday as he won the 300m in a national indoor record of 33.93.

Volko, who won a silver medal in the 60m behind Richard Kilty at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade last March, then demonstrated his versatility by winning two heats of the 60m in 6.77 and 6.73 respectively.

There was an equal landmark for Alexandra Bezekova who broke the women’s record with 37.77. Staying with records at this distance, Rokas Pacevicius ran a Lithuanian 300m indoor record of 33.56 in Panevezys.

Henriques opens season with a fast time over 35km

Ines Henriques will never forget 2017. She won Portugal’s only gold medal at the World Championships in London in a world record of 4:05:56 in the 50km race walk and her 2018 season has not started too badly either.

On Sunday in Porto de Mos, Henriques broke the national record over 35km in 2:45:51 as part of her build-up to the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang, China in May when she will attack her world 50km race walk record.

Henriques, 37, will also contest the 50km walk at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin where the event will be part of the continental programme for the first time this summer.

Elsewhere, Israel’s Girmaw Amare ran a personal best of 2:15:30 to win the Tiberias Marathon and secure the men’s national title and at the Cross Internacional Zornotza in Amorebieta, Spain’s Trihas Gebre won over 8.7km for a home victory in 33:39.