BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Not many medalists head almost straight from the podium to an abattoir but that is what Britain’s Laura Muir will be doing.
Muir won bronze in the 3,000 meters on Thursday at the world indoor athletics championship for her first global medal and bettered that by claiming silver in the 1,500 on Saturday.
But Muir, who is in the final year of her veterinary degree at Glasgow University, will not have time to celebrate.
The 24-year-old Scot starts a new placement at 9 a.m. local time on Monday and that will see her visit an abattoir during the week.
“It’s a little bit different,” Muir said with a smile on Sunday. “But there’s just so many aspects of veterinary, so it’s a little bit different to your dogs and cats.”
Muir had to ask for time off from the animal hospital where she works to compete at the world indoors and admits it is sometimes tough to balance the demands of running with the work for her degree.
Muir can work more than 80 hours a week, including doing night shifts or being on call.
“You just get up very early and go to bed late,” Muir said. “It’s tough but you have to do it. Luckily I get a lot of support from the vet school and my coach Andy (Young) as well. Something you’ve just got to do to do the degree.”
Doing that degree sees Muir study during meets — including in Birmingham — and will also see her miss out on next month’s Commonwealth Games as it clashes with her university exams.
With her degree coming to an end in two months, Muir will have a lot more time to dedicate to her running and that could give her the “less than a second” improvement which she thinks would promote her to gold.
“More time for trips, more time to recover, a little less stress and less hassle and it’ll benefit me a lot,” Muir said.
While Muir admits it would be difficult for her to have a full-time or even part-time job as a vet when she graduates, she’s hoping to volunteer for animal charities in Glasgow during time off from racing.
And she thinks that will even be to her benefit.
“I will want to have something else on my plate, not just the running,” she said. “I think that’s really important, not just physically but mentally as well to keep you preoccupied during the day.
“I know if I had to think about my session all day, you kind of psychologically psyche yourself out of it whereas I just rock up and do it, I don’t have time to think about how hard it’s going to be. There’s certainly a lot of benefits to being full time (athlete) but there’s a lot of disadvantages associated with it as well.”
Muir is hoping her journey back to Glasgow will be smoother than her way down.
Her midday flight on Wednesday from Glasgow was canceled as unusually cold weather gripped Europe, causing travel chaos.
Subsequent flights were also canceled as were trains and that saw Muir and her coach make a mad six-hour taxi dash on snow-covered roads from Glasgow to Birmingham in the Midlands.
“Getting out of Glasgow was pretty scary,” Muir said.
Muir, who studied in the taxi, drew on her experience of combining her degree with running to help combat the tiredness ahead of racing.
And, according to Muir, “it was definitely worth the trip.”