While one star of the track was getting ready for her latest gold, another was claiming her first. Her first outdoor title, anyway.
It has been established for some time that Laura Muir is a fine talent, but until Sunday night the rewards for her efforts had only come indoors.
Here, in the European 1500metres final, that changed with a convincing win and a small slice of history, as Muir became Britain’s first woman European champion at the distance, moments before Eilish McColgan took silver in the 5,000m.
Muir, 25, was never expected to struggle against this field, and so it proved as the Scot crossed in 4min02.32sec, comfortably ahead of Sofia Ennaoui, a Pole who surged past Muir’s team-mate Laura Weightman on the straight. Weightman held on to add a bronze to the one she won in Zurich in 2014.
Muir’s two world indoor medals were extremely hard-won, so this felt like a straightforward opportunity the moment her biggest likely challenger, Sifan Hassan, decided ahead of the championships only to run in the 5,000m.
It cleared the way and Muir didn’t look back, despite what she admitted was quite significant pressure as such a heavy favourite.
‘This was probably the most pressure I have been under, it was something new for me, but I think I handled it really well,’ Muir said.
In the final, Muir took up the lead the lead at around 700m and never gave it up. ‘I knew a lot of the girls have a good finish, so I thought the longer I leave it, the riskier it would be. I know I can run hard from a long way out, so I did that.’
McColgan, the daughter of the 1991 10,000m world champion Liz McColgan, produced the best result of her career. She was helped by the Israeli, Lonah Salpeter, sprinting for the finish a lap too soon, when contesting the lead with Hassan, and slowing across the line, apparently thinking she had won the race.
That allowed McColgan to move into second behind Hassan, with Salpeter ultimately finishing a devastated fourth.