‘Commonwealth Games gold run was Eilish’s perfect race’ – Liz

Wednesday 10th August 2022

Photo by Bobby Gavin

‘Scotland, you are becoming a problem’ – how Eilish wrecked Kenyan dreams

Like mother, like daughter.

The McColgan family made headlines around the globe last week and the issue of following parental genes became a hot topic.

So much so, in fact, that the Western Morning Herald in Australia seemed to compare Liz and Eilish to Hollywood father-son duos like Kirk and Michael Douglas and Donald and Kiefer Sutherland!

Not quite sure where that applies but the issue has been to the fore in athletics in Scotland this summer given Jake Wightman’s World Champs gold with his dad, Geoff, having a walk-on (talk-on?) part in the global story via his commentating in the stadium in Oregon.

Far more important, really, is the way Eilish won in Birmingham, rather than who cheered from the sidelines.

And, as her coach, Liz was keen to point out that following the race-plan paid off with a Commonwealth Games Women’s 10,000m Record at 30:48.60.

‘That kind of performance has been a long time coming,’ Liz told us in a special video interview immediately after Eilish struck gold over 10,000m – with silver in the 5000m to follow.

‘There’s so much work gone in and a lot of hard moments along the way with injuries and illnesses.

‘We knew this was a big chance and she just had to believe she was good enough. We (Liz and Michael Rimmer and dad Peter) all told her if the Kenyans made a break then she had to cover the move. She is strong enough and fit enough.

‘As the race wound up, Eilish did everything right.

Photo by Bobby Gavin

Double joy! Eilish adds silver in 5000m to add to her 10,000m gold

‘It was pretty nerve-wracking because she was carrying an injury and we only really got that sorted a few days ago.

‘So I knew she was in shape but she just had to run her own race. And she actually ran actually what we discussed.

‘You know, five or six weeks ago she was in the best shape of her life. Then all of a sudden she got sick in Oslo, then picked up this niggle in her hamstring.

‘And every time she was putting her foot down at the World Championships, she was getting a searing pain in her hamstring. She couldn’t run fluently.

‘So the 10,000m final was first time in about three weeks that she was able to run fluently and strong again. I knew if we could get the hamstring sorted that the shape was there. And I knew the passion was there, because she was determined to get a medal.

‘You can never know what the last 300m is going to be like but it’s the best I’ve ever seen her race. She really wanted to medal – and it showed.

‘The crowd were so amazing. Without the crowd, that final 150m wouldn’t have happened like that.’

For Liz, the whole occasion last Wednesday felt like a flashback to Edinburgh in 1986 . . .

‘It was so emotional watching her. I kind of felt like my mum and dad, and I thought to myself: ‘I’ve actually just done what they did at Meadowbank ‘– and I was embarrassed when they did it!

‘But you know what? It’s just really great to be a parent and watch your children succeed.

‘To actually come through such an atmosphere, the way she delivered the win, I’m just really honoured that I could be there. And I’m just totally proud. I don’t think proud even covers it.

‘She’s an amazing young lady, she’s had a lot of problems in her career. But she really put together what she was capable of.’

Liz retained her 1986 title four years later in New Zealand to make it two Women’s 10,000m Commonwealth Games golds,,

‘Yeah, we’ve got three Commonwealth golds in the family. I might be 2-1 up but Eilish has also broken the Games record now. So it might be all square!

‘Hats off to Eilish, she’s run amazingly well and deserves everything coming her way now.’

Gold medal moment after the 10,000m victory (photo by Bobby Gavin)

Tags: Birmingham 2022, Eilish McColgan, Liz McColgan

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