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Conversation With High Riser: Tina Muir

by Liz Lang

Living up to the family legacy is a common cloud overhead, especially for athletes. For High Riser Tina Muir, however, athleticism wasn’t always in the family cards. In fact, she is the only person who runs in her family and extended family. The only tie back to her athletic abilities she could trace down is to her granddad, who was given an award during the war for exceptional running. Tina was born in St. Albans, England, and traveled to the United States to pursue her running career when she was 18 years old. Around the age of 14, one of her teachers referred her to a local running club, where Muir met her first coach Brad Plummer. She says, “Without him, I would not be here right now! He made me good enough to get offered a full ride scholarship.” Upon arrival to the States, she spent eight months living in Southern California and then attended Ferris State University in Michigan for the following five years. During that time she acquired a bachelor’s degree and various accolades for running— Tina was an 11 time All-American at Ferris State!

Someday, Tina hopes to represent Great Britain in an international competition. After getting a taste of the feeling while running in the Great Britain Olympic trials, her desire multiplied. She says, “It is the dream of running for my country that makes me want to get out the door each day and run.” The effort and struggle to reach the goal make it that much more valuable to her. What Tina enjoys most about competing is “the feeling you get as you cross the finish line knowing you have achieved a goal, or completed what you intended to do. As I put my heart and soul into my running, that feeling makes all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile. There is nothing that can compare to the sense of accomplishment. It does not matter what that goal is, if it is important to you, it will lead to an incredible rush of self-pride, adrenaline and satisfaction.”

When it comes to race day, you can expect her not to feel nervous at the start line, just excited. “After all the hours you have put in, you know that as long as you are smart you will race well. The best part of the marathon is that you can truly enjoy the first half. The last part of the marathon is also unlike any other event, the mental fatigue and continual battle against your mind will test even the toughest runners out there. Although I was too dehydrated to remember crossing the finish line in my debut, most speak of an incredible rush as you cross the finish line. It is a fantastic achievement to even run that distance, and no matter what time you finished in, and it is something to be celebrated!”

Tina’s marathon racing debut was this past November in Philadelphia, PA. She recalled the event saying it was definitely the proudest moment of her life, though she didn’t realize it at the time. She has no recollection of crossing the finish line, where she was immediately wheeled on a stretcher to the closest available medical tent. Around mile 19 her body started to crash. For the next mile she battled the inner voice, which intended to drop out, but decided that she had worked too hard to be a quitter. “Finishing the marathon in the state I was in was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. I had honestly thought I could drop to the ground dead, but somehow I kept pushing through.”

If given the chance to run with anyone, alive or dead, Tina would like to run with Paula Raddcliffe (the female record holder in marathon, no one’s even come close to her record of 2:15!). The degrees of separation couldn’t get closer for the two. Both had actually run for the same running club in England, so Tina admits to having a soft spot for Raddcliffe since her coach while growing up had also worked with Raddcliffe in the past. When we asked her for some words of wisdom to inspire those who are thinking about getting into running she replied, “I have achieved my greatest highs after my lowest lows; I am always glad that the setbacks happen as they make me stronger. Running will always be there, it is never too late to start, and you can always achieve your goals if you are prepared to do whatever it takes.”

Whatever it takes usually means, strict diets, i.e. as little sugar as possible, no processed foods, non-GMO, etc. However, Tina confessed to Rise Bar that she has a huge sweet tooth describing herself as “one of those people who could eat an entire tub of frosting with a spoon in one sitting.” (Don’t give the kids any ideas!) Her favorite post-race meal consists of “big, fluffy, white chocolate chip filled pancakes paired with a glass of milk, or side of eggs.” But don’t be fooled by the guilty pleasures, Tina aspires to open up her own healthy eating business in the future as well as follow a nutritional/sustainable/healthy eating career path. 

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