Laura Muir has revealed she wants to return to curing sick animals as a distraction from the high-pressure world of running.
Muir, 25, from Milnathort, who qualified as a vet from Glasgow University last year, has become Scotland’s highest-profile female athlete.
She completed a historic “double double” at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow last weekend, after defending the 1,500m and 3,000m races she won in Belgrade two years ago – and she has been tipped for Olympic glory at Tokyo 2020 by running legend Sebastian Coe.
Despite her gruelling training schedule, Muir said she wants to combine athletics with some veterinary work to “keep her hand in” and give her a distraction.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, she said: “I think athletics is a high-pressure environment and it’s very good to have another distraction.
“I’ve been full-time in athletics since I qualified last summer but I hope to do some (veterinary) charity or voluntary work and just keep my hand in and keep my skills up to date.
“It’s nice to have that other thing going on in your life rather than just athletics.”
She added: “Sport is so unpredictable as well. You hope injuries never crop up and you get to call time when you do, but some things do happen, and if your career’s cut short, it’s good to have something to fall back on, and to continue in something you love to do.”
Muir suffered a series of disappointments on the track before emerging as a world-class star.
She finished 11th in the 1,500m at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and was seventh at the Rio Olympics in 2016, before narrowly failing to win a medal at the World Championships in London the following year.
But she said those “tough times” had helped transform her in to the athlete she is now.
Muir has become a role model for aspiring female athletes in Scotland but she admitted her new-found fame was “surreal”.
She said: “It’s a bit surreal having people recognise me a bit now. It’s a bit strange but I’m just so happy that people are recognising that I’m doing well and supporting me, and the support I’ve had has been fantastic.”
Muir hopes her most recent success – becoming the first person to do the double double by defending two titles at the European Indoor Championships – could now be a stepping stone to greater things and said it was “lovely” to be tipped for Olympic glory by British middle distance legend Coe.
She added: “It’s one thing for someone to say ‘this person can do this or that’ but when it’s Seb Coe – someone who’s been there and done it, and won those Olympic medals – it’s very special.”