Eilish McColgan recovers her stride but still has some way to go – The Herald
Eilish McColgan hits the water on the way to a 12th-placed finish in the 3000m steeplechase. She fell just two seconds short of earning a place at the European Championships. Picture: SNS
A heart murmur has been controlled but her ambitions remain boundless. “If two months ago someone had said to me: ‘Oh, don’t worry, you’ll get down to running 9:44s and you’ll feel good doing it,’ I’d have taken it,” she reflected. “But to be just outside that qualifying mark? I couldn’t be any more gutted.”
When British Athletics’ selection panel meet today to finalise their squad for Zurich, an exception would need to be made if the UK champion is to receive an invite. If her personal appeal is rejected then the Scot will move into the final phase of her preparations for the Commonwealth Games by attending a Scottish Athletics training camp in Kilmarnock. There she will be assisted by her mother and coach Liz Lynch, who has flown in from Qatar to oversee the revisions personally.
Their separation has had some impact, despite McColgan’s application to her prescribed regime. “She has never had to be concerned with that, but it does become difficult because of illness,” the 23-year-old said.
“If she can see me and see that I’m very tired, or that I’ve got a cold, she can tell me to cut it down from a bulk session to a shorter session, or maybe cross train or head for a jog. It’s difficult when she can’t see me as she doesn’t know how ill I am.
“During my periods of illness it was constant fatigue, a week when I felt fine, then a cold or a virus. It was more difficult for her to tell me to train through it and then say that maybe we should rest. Had I not been ill, we would not have had any issues. When things are bad you notice all the small things, so I’m happy we’ll have 10 full days to really pull things together.”
Yet McColgan, currently a nomad with only a temporary base in Loughborough, has admitted for the first time that some additional hands-on help may be needed to plug the gaps on a day-to-day basis. Jon Bigg, the former athlete who now coaches the likes of Mukhtar Mohammed and Michael Rimmer, has emerged as the prime contender to provide some secondary assistance.
“It’s the small things, setting out hurdles, timing reps and recoveries because it’s difficult to do all that on my own as I don’t have a training group or training partners,” she said. “In Loughborough it’s difficult to find training partners as they have their own seasons to focus on and agendas, but hopefully someone will start helping me.”