Eilish McColgan: In My Own Words

October 6, 2021

We’ve grown up together.

The same people that travelled the length and breadth of the country together as kids. All the cross-countries, the indoors, the Scottish schools’ events. So it’s really cool that we’re now making the senior team together – we’re still here, still running fast, and the standard keeps improving.

To wear a Scottish vest and know you’re on the starting line with people you’ve grown up with…it’s just really unique, I can’t put into words what it means.

We’re very patriotic towards it, the Scottish athletes. You’ll be stretched to find one that doesn’t want to make the Commonwealth Games team. It’s a high priority for us – we want to be there, we want to be competing for Scotland and we want to win medals for Scotland.

We don’t get to compete for Scotland in any championship other than the Commonwealth Games. It makes it a little bit more special.

We’ve got a lot of the same people who’ve been competing at the top for a long while, like Laura, and now you’ve got someone like Jemma also coming through to that level. I shared with Jemma and Laura in Tokyo – it was just incredible to see how hard they work every single day. That motivates you.

We watched Josh and Laura at the Olympics, Jemma on the brink of a medal too. To have that at Olympic level is pretty special for such a small nation.

Tokyo for me was a little bit disappointing. I had trained so hard this year, I was in the best shape of my life. But I didn’t quite hit the targets I’d set myself.

It can go one of two ways, when you have a disappointment. You either sack it off and do nothing at all, go on holiday and forget about it. Or you have renewed motivation to get out there and showcase the fitness you’ve got. I did the latter.

I felt like I had, not a point to prove to anyone, but a point to prove to myself. That it was a one off. A relatively bad championship, fine, but that fitness hadn’t disappeared.

If anything this year has given me the extra boost to break into a medal position at the Commonwealth Games.

I’m under no illusion – the Commonwealth Games for distance running is tough. Some of the Kenyan athletes are the best in the world – we’ve just watched them win Olympic medals, be close to world records, so I know it’s going to be difficult.

I’ve been sixth, I think, in every Commonwealth Games I’ve done, over three events. I’ve done steeplechase, 1500 and the 5k – this will be my fourth event over three Games so it would be nice to upgrade that sixth place to a medal position!

Every race now I’m running PBs and getting faster and faster. I broke the British record for 5k earlier in the year and that’s ranked me higher in the world than I’ve ever been before. I’m confident there’s a medal there.

And that would be a nice way to, not end my career on track, but certainly, I’ll be looking to the roads after 2022.

I feel it’s the perfect time.

I’d love to win a medal for Scotland.


Eilish McColgan was speaking after being selected as the first members of Team Scotland for Birmingham 2022, alonsgside Laura Muir, Jemma Reekie, Josh Kerr, Jake Wightman and Andy Butchart. 

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