Jo Muir enjoyed a breakthrough result with a fantastic 5th place finish at the 2016 European Championships in Sofia in a field containing numerous athletes who were about to head to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The then 21-year-old went on to watch the Games as a spectator and admitted it gave her huge inspiration heading into the following season.
The Dumfries born athlete would go on to produce a fine World Cup season in 2017 with her three best World Cup finishes to date. More remarkably, those performances came just 12 months after she failed to qualify for a final in either of her two World Cup appearances. 2017 included a maiden top 10 result at the final World Cup of the year in Poland which saw Jo finish 10th in the overall Women’s World Cup standings.
Women Fitness President joins the pentathlete for an interesting conversation on her journey into the world of sports.
You won your first gold at the first World Cup of the year in Cairo, Egypt, just ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Walk us through your spectacular journey and tell us how it all began?
My journey began many years ago as a kid who just loved all sports. I wasn’t the most coordinated child or very good at much, but I enjoyed trying new things. I tried every sport from lacrosse and table tennis to gymnastics and hockey. I got into horse riding when I was aged 6 through my mum who used to do eventing and then joined pony club the following year. Little did I know this was the very start of my sporting journey. It wasn’t until I was 11 that I discovered my love for athletics and running.
Again, it wasn’t something I was a natural at, but I enjoyed working hard and pushing my body to the limits. Throughout my teenage years I travelled all over the country competing in Pony Club tetrathlons which combine cross country riding with running, swimming and pistol shooting as well as competing for my local club (and then later on for Scotland) in athletics. I didn’t compete in my first pentathlon until I was 14 but I loved it and decided at that moment I wanted to explore modern pentathlon and train properly for all 5 events.
What inspired you to take up Pentathlon as a career?
I was always inspired by Steph Cook who was the first ever women to win a gold medal for pentathlon at an Olympic Games when the women’s event was introduced in Sydney 2000. I loved the idea of being a ‘well rounded’ athlete who could compete to a high level in a variety of different events. I also was inspired to pursue a career in pentathlon after my first ever visit to the National Training Centre in Bath. I was 14 at the time and competing in the schools biathlon championships when I spoke to one of the British performance coaches. I loved the city and the facilities at the University of Bath and from then it was always my dream to train full time at the NTC and compete and win a medal for Great Britain at an Olympic Games.
Introduce us to a day in your life.
So obviously having 5 very different sports to train for means every single day is different. A typical morning would normally consist of a run first thing (anything from a hard track session or tempo run to a steady aerobic or a recovery run depending on the day of the week), followed by a swim. Most afternoons include fencing lessons, some shooting practise and fencing free play (when you practise against each other) 2-3 times a week. We also manage to squeeze in a couple of gym sessions and one riding lesson a week. It’s also important to find the time for rest and recovery so a weekly massage is essential as well as catching up with my physio every couple of weeks and my sports psychologist. My schedule is very full on but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
This interview is exclusive and taken by Namita Nayyar President womenfitness.net and should not be reproduced, copied or hosted in part or full anywhere without an express permission.
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