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Laura Muir and Keely Hodgkinson battle the clock in Birmingham

Laura Muir and Keely Hodgkinson battle the clock in Birmingham

British middle-distance duo attack records in different events at World Indoor Tour Final but enjoy the idea of a future head-to-head over neutral territory

Imagine Keely Hodgkinson versus Laura Muir over the neutral distance of 1000m. It will not happen this weekend as both athletes have records in their sights at the World Indoor Tour Final in Birmingham on Saturday with the stopwatch being their main opposition. Perhaps this mouth-watering head-to-head could happen in future, though.

If so, who would win? “Set it up and let’s find out!” said Hodgkinson, speaking to the media ahead of Saturday’s meeting.

“Keely would have me over 800m, definitely,” Muir said, “but then there’s that last 200m.”

Hodgkinson added: “It’d be interesting. I think races like that are quite fun. People who don’t really race each other much coming together over random distances are good.”

For now, however, the two athletes will go their separate ways this weekend. The crowd at the Utilita Arena will get two races for the price of one with Hodgkinson racing 800m and Muir tackling the 1000m.

Muir holds the British indoor record for 1000m with 2:31.93 but is after Maria Mutola’s world record of 2:30.94. “The last time I competed over the 1000m in Birmingham I got the British record so hopefully I’ll get another record this time,” she said.

“It’s a hard one and nasty to pace but I’ll have a go at it. It’s like running an 800m and then you keep going. It’s brutal and maybe the most painful of all distances I’ve raced over.”

Does she enjoy the pain? “I’m not sure I enjoy it as such,” she said. “The feeling afterwards when you’ve really nailed a race is nice. But it’s not exactly comfortable. It’s exciting to know what’s going to come after but it’s not necessarily nice at the time.”

Looking ahead to her race on Saturday afternoon, she added: “Hopefully I will have a couple of special initials on the board afterwards.”

Laura Muir (Getty for BA)

Breaking a world record is, she says, one of half a dozen goals that she has targeted in 2023 with her coach Andy Young. Others include winning the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games, which she achieved earlier this month. Then there is winning gold at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul next weekend.

She would love to make the podium again at the World Championships in Budapest this summer. “I’d love to upgrade that medal although it’s still going to…

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