5 Things You Should Know About Me: Eilish McColgan

September 19, 2012 at 9:00pm EST | by Barbara Huebner, NYRR News Service

Eilish McColgan, 21, of Scotland, will be making her U.S. racing debut in Saturday’s Fifth Avenue Mile Presented by Nissan, but her mother is already well acquainted with the streets of New York City: Liz McColgan won the 1991 New York City Marathon in what was then the fastest women’s marathon debut in history. Eilish, the national record-holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase and the Under-23 record-holder for Great Britain, competed in the 3000-meter steeplechase in the 2012 Olympics, her first major international championship. A member of the Dundee Hawkhill Harriers, she has been coached since the age of 13 by her mother, but she can also turn to her father for career advice: Peter McColgan was once a top Irish steeplechaser.

  1. When I first became interested in athletics, everyone expected me to be really good but I didn’t know why.
  2. I’ve just resumed my third-year course in math and accounting at the University of Dundee, although I genuinely have no idea what I will do with the degree. I also work part-time in a running store called Sweatshop, part of a chain founded by Chris Brasher, who won the 1956 Olympic gold medal in the steeplechase and helped pace Roger Bannister to break the four-minute mile.
  3. At the 2011 Aviva London Grand Prix I was going after the “A” qualifier for the World Championships when I broke my foot going over the second-last water jump. I finished under the qualifying time, but I shattered my foot to the point where I now have five screws and a metal plate holding it together. The doctors weren’t sure I’d be able to do the steeplechase again, but I swapped my landing foot because I didn’t want to give it up. That race was definitely a turning point in my career, because it really made me focus on what I wanted to achieve.
  4. In Oslo this summer, when I bettered my national record in the steeplechase and ran the Olympic “A” standard in the Bislett Games, I had my photo taken in front of the Grete Waitz statue at the stadium and sent it to my mum. Grete coached her for a while. When my mum got the photo, that’s when it first really hit her that now I was doing what she used to do.
  5. When I was about 4 years old I was in an advert for a breakfast cereal that went on television all over the UK. They wanted to show Liz McColgan’s daughter being healthy, but I refused to eat the cereal so the bowl was full of Cheesy Wotzits crisps. In America, you call them potato chips.
Categories: Pro Athletes