THE step up to the podium proved a trip too far but the journey made by her grandmother was much more precious.
Eilish McColgan admitted she simply ran out of time as she reflected ruefully on her sixth place in the 3000m steeplechase.
A season’s best of 9:44.65 was a small crumb of comfort for the 23-year-old, who has battled injury and illness so often this season it’s amazing she even made it to Hampden at all.
But she did – along with a posse of family, including a special old lady who was making her first trip to watch athletics in the flesh for 28 years.
Back in 1986, Liz Lynch threw two arms into the air as she crossed the line at Meadowbank Stadium a Commonwealth Games champion, gold medal assured in the 10,000m.
She dissolved into the arms of her father, Martin, as he walked on to the track before being embraced by the rest of her clan, including mum Betty.
There were no such iconic images to beam around the world last night involving Liz’s daughter on the finishing line, and Martin is no longer with us.
However, even he would have looked down through the grey clouds swirling above the national stadium and taken pride in his grand-daughter’s appearance, as well as his wife’s presence.
Eilish said: “It was an amazing experience and I’m not going to have anything like that again in my life.
“My mum, dad, uncle, cousin, three little brothers and my sister were all here to watch – and my gran, my mum’s mum.
“My gran watched mum at Meadowbank in 1986 and she came here tonight. I don’t think she has been in a stadium since back then.
“The fact she was here tonight is special. I don’t know how she could even see because her eyesight isn’t great but I’m sure she heard it all.
“My grandad always said to her that, if she ever got the chance, she should go and watch me run.
“He always told me I would make the Olympic games. Sadly he never made it to watch me in London. However, gran was excited to be here, knowing he had told her it wasn’t to be missed.”
McColgan has been ill seven times since November and was also recently diagnosed with a heart complaint.
And it’s only now, after a month of hard training, she is approaching anywhere near full fitness.
It was never going to be enough and there was no shock when Purity Kirui led home a trio of Kenyans in the medal positions in a time of 9:30.96.
Milka Cheywa was second, Joan Kipkemoi was third and the other Scot in the race, Lennie Waite, placed 10th of 11.
Most eyes were on McColgan but her lack of preparation time was obvious, particularly when it came to her barrier technique, especially at the water jump.
There were times she landed in the water like a new-born foal in comparison to the Africans, who barely broke stride as they eventually raced away from two Aussies in fourth and fifth, Madeline Heiner and Genevieve Lacaze.
McColgan added: “The cheer for me and Lennie at the start was something special. I’m very grateful for the
opportunity to experience it.
A SEASON’S best of 9:44.65 was a small crumb of comfort for the 23-year-old, who has battled injury and illness so often this season it’s amazing she even made it to Hampden at all.
“At the start of the season, I didn’t think I was going to be racing at all. It was one thing after another so just experiencing the Games is great.
“That’s still the fastest I’ve run all year. It’s improving but I’ve run out of time.”
McColgan is adamant she will stick with the steeplechase with an eye on Rio, although her longer term plan has always been to step up to flat 5,000m and 10,000m running.
However, she knows she has much work to do on her technique in the next two years if she is to fulfil
her potential and the hard work will continue in the weeks ahead when most other athletes are winding down their campaigns.
She added: “I feel that if I can run 9.44 with the preparations I’ve had, next year will be a big change. The record of 9.24 is my main aim and I can achieve that.
“I’m going to continue racing because I feel like my season is almost starting.
“This is only the beginning. I’m possibly going to race in Brazil on August 10. I will do a couple of more flat races after that and keep going until September. I’m going to Brazil with one eye on the Olympics.”
For Waite, born in Paisley but based in Texas, the experience was everything as the Scottish crowd clasped her and McColgan to their hearts.
She said: “It was just surreal. From walking out into the stadium to the 3000m start line I had a grin.
“I’ve never felt so loved in my life. I’ve been to concerts before and people cheer for musicians and I thought it would be amazing to experience that. Today I did. It was so awesome.”