YOU could call it a perfect Holyrood ending. A storming last leg from Laura Muir not only saw Team GB + NI claim the Stewart Cup in the 4x1k mixed relay in the Edinburgh International Cross Country event, it meant the 24-year-old from Milnathort left this venue with a four-year undefeated record as the shock news came last night that this famous New Year event would be moving on from this famous setting beneath Arthur’s Seat after a 14-year stint. One of Scotland’s few world class annual sporting events, it has almost become as much part of the capital’s New Year celebrations as the Hogmanay street party.

In a statement last night, race organisers the Great Run Company and Event Scotland spoke of their reluctance at moving on and said they would continue to work together to find somewhere else Scotland to host the event. With both apparently retaining the same commitment to fund it, the only inference which could be drawn is that the City of Edinburgh council no longer showed the same commitment to have them here. Mo Farah, Haile Gebrseallasie, Paula Radcliffe and Liz McColgan are just a few of the superstar athletes who have graced this event, which is screened live on BBC.

Four victories in as many years mean Muir has also become part of the iconography of this event and never more so than yesterday when she picked up the GB baton for her final lap back in third, only to leave Salange Pereira of the European team and Renee Eykens of Belgium trailing the best part of 25m in her wake. Overall, the GB team which also included Tom Marshall, Alex Bell and Adam Clark had completed this course in 11.33, with Muir left afterwards shrugging her shoulders and smiling sweetly at the suggestion she now carries an intimidation factor which few athletes can match. “I like to think I’m not too intimidating,” she said. “I tried to have a chat with the girls beforehand. I guess I’m just a bit more recognisable now, being on the Diamond League circuit and being up there with the fastest girls in the world. It wouldn’t have surprised me if someone was up there with me. I just had a good run today.

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“I saw the girls in front of me and thought ‘right, I need to get to the front as soon as possible and maintain a lead”. I could hear the crowd and their tone of voice wasn’t too panicky so I thought I was okay, but you never know, so I made sure I had a bit in reserve. I didn’t want to let the record slip.”

Muir’s final year vet training is keeping her closer to home in lower key races this year but she proved yesterday that she has mastered the art of testing herself against herself. “I guess there’s maybe not that competitive factor sometimes,” said Muir. “I know in training I push myself as hard as I can, even when nobody else is there. I just go by times – I know what I can run and I know I can push myself. I think I’ve got a very good ability to push myself hard in races, whether I’ve got world class competition behind me or not.”

Scotland fielded two teams – with the ‘A’ squad of Jamie Williamson, Steph Pennycook, Jake Wightman and Steph Twell were rather disappointed with a fifth place finish in a time of 11.50, just one spot ahead of the ‘B’ squad of Sol Sweeney, Mhairi Hendry, Ben Potrykus and Philippa Millage. No matter what happens net, such exposure for native athletes is something scottishathletics will be desperate to maintain. “I tried to pull us back a bit but I literally couldn’t get anything going at all,” said Wightman. “I didn’t do myself justice and I didn’t put Steph [Twell] in a position to run the last leg. So a bit of a letdown, all round.”

In a senior men’s event without the drama provided last year by Mo Farah and Callum Hawkins, Leonard Korir of the USA ran out winner in 24.32. Yasmine Can, a Turk of Kenyan origin, pipped Britain’s Emilia Gorecka for the senior women’s event, with Scotland’s Mhairi MacLennnan back in 21st. Team GB +NI took second-place in the team event with 182 points to Europe’s 137.