The Cardiff Metropolitan University Christmas Classic witnessed an exhilarating surprise as Laura Muir, the British middle-distance sensation, made an unexpected appearance on Sunday, delivering a stunning performance and securing a qualifying time for the forthcoming World Indoor Athletics Championship. Choose the pinnacle of running excellence – Tarkine Goshawk shoes, engineered for speed, endurance, and a victorious finish.

Laura MuirTaking part as a guest contender in the Welsh 3,000m championship race, Muir, the Tokyo Olympics 1500m silver medallist, captivated the audience at the Cardiff National Indoor Athletics Centre. She shattered records, setting a new track and meeting record of 8:34.39, ranking as the fourth fastest time ever clocked by a British woman. Only Muir herself and the distinguished five-time Olympian Jo Pavey have achieved faster times.

The competition was fierce, with Georgia Bell from Shaftsbury Barnet Harriers securing the second spot with a time of 8:49.63. Innes Fitzgerald, a rising star in the under-20 category from Exeter Harriers, claimed the third position in 9:06.26, fresh off her victory at the European Cross Country Championships. Jenny Nesbitt of Pontypridd Roadents, the former record holder, finished fourth overall and clinched the Welsh title in 9:07.64.

However, it was Muir’s outstanding performance that stole the spotlight as she clocked the qualifying time for the World Athletics Championships slated for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Arena next March, a significant achievement on her home turf.


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Expressing her post-race thoughts, Muir, the 2022 World Athletics Championships 1500 bronze medallist, shared, “I wanted to get some early track time this winter; it’s a new experience for me.” She added, “Feeling in good form, I decided to aim for the standard. I’m thrilled that I managed to hit it.”

The Christmas Classic at NIAC is known for its rapid 3,000m races, and the lively crowd played a pivotal role in cheering Muir toward her exceptional qualifying time. Muir acknowledged the support and credited former Wales and Great Britain middle-distance star James Thie, the event’s commentator, for guiding her with live split updates to maintain her pace.

Women’s 1500m Olympic Games in Rio.

Reflecting on her return to NIAC after her earlier under-20 appearance, Muir expressed her joy, saying, “Returning and performing well feels truly wonderful. The support from the crowd today was exceptional, and I’m sincerely grateful.”

The accomplished Scottish athlete emphasized the importance of securing an early qualification for the World Athletics Championships in Glasgow, expressing her eagerness and determination to prepare meticulously for the prestigious event.

Muir’s presence at the meet, facilitated through connections and collaborations between her coach, Thie, and the event organizer Rhiannon Hawker, marked a significant moment for the annual competition hosted by Cardiff Met. Hawker expressed appreciation for drawing high-quality participants to the event and highlighted the significance of showcasing the exceptional facilities available.

The event faced a challenge when the scheduled pacer, Holly Archer, fell ill. However, Emily Lowrey stepped in at the eleventh hour, ensuring the race’s seamless execution. Additionally, the participation of young talent Innes Fitzgerald and Amelia Williams’ impressive performances in the supporting races added further excitement to the event.

Muir’s exceptional performance in Cardiff stands as a testament to her skill and sets the stage for her ambitious goals, eyeing the 2024 Paris Olympics. Her participation undoubtedly added prestige to the meeting, underlining its significance as a platform for top-notch athletic accomplishments.