Ambition runs in the family as Liz ‘s girl goes for gold
Most children could only dream of being coached by an Olympic medallist at their first school sports day.
But when Eilish McColgan was cheered on by her world champion mother in the school grounds she knew that one day she wanted to stand on the podium, too.
Now, nearly 15 years after her first race, the daughter of Scots athlete Liz McColgan is readying herself to represent Britain at the 2012 Olympics.
Eilish, who is now one of the best young runners in Britain, has also set her sights on a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
But despite her parents’ globetrotting careers – her father Peter was also a renowned steeplechaser – Eilish admits that she did not understand their jobs when she was young.
She said: ‘My first race that I remember was when I was in primary 6 or 7.
‘My PE teacher just entered me in a race so I went along with it and came fourth.
‘But I absolutely loved it. Before that I knew that my parents were runners but I never really understood what that meant.’
Soon afterwards, Eilish joined a local athletics club before teaming up with her mother – who has coached her since.
And the runner has gone from strength to strength.
She holds the Scottish record forthe 3000-metre steeplechase, as well as the UK under-23 record for the same distance.
But the 21-year-old suffered a huge setback last year when she fractured her ankle at a crucial stage in the running season – although she managed to record her fastest-ever time during the same race.
She said: ‘It was ridiculous getting the qualifying time in the same race that I broke my foot. That was an Olympic qualifying time.’
But despite missing out on appearing for Great Britain at the World Championships – 20 years after her mother won gold in Tokyo – Eilish is back fighting fit.
She said: ‘At the start of 2011 I would have laughed at the thought of getting to the Olympics.
But last season was like a snowball – every week just got better and better.’
She is taking a year out from her accountancy and maths degree at Dundee University to train.