Dundee Culture Interviews: Eilish Mccolgan
Andrew Batchelor interviews Eilish Mccolgan, one of the most finest athletes in British athletics!
Eilish Mccolgan really has had an amazing past few years — winning silver in the European Championships in Berlin and breaking records in races. The Dundee born runner really has made a significant impact on Scottish and British athletics and has continued to win races and has made a name for herself in the world of athletics!
I interviewed Eilish to see how things were going, what it’s like to train and represent your country as well as what impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on her career as an athlete.
What made you want to be an athlete and when did you have an interest in making it your career?
I always enjoyed playing sport but running was the one I liked the most. When I joined the Dundee Hawkhill Harriers, I knew I had found something that I wanted to do forever but it wasn’t really until I was around 21 that I decided to really try and make athletics my full time career.
What was it like being selected to represent your country at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and the European Championships?
It’s an incredible experience representing your country at the highest level. Every championships is different but there is always a challenging journey to make each one — whether it be overcoming injuries or illness. It makes achieving that end goal — even more special.
What types of training do you do to prepare for races and how often do you train?
I train twice a day, six days a week. Twice a week I’ll be on the track and in the gym, the rest of my training is easy mileage. We spend a lot of months abroad at altitude too! So I will be based in Flagstaff, Arizona for two months in spring and will spend the majority of the summer at altitude in St Moritz, Switzerland.
Your mother Liz Mccolgan was also an athlete who participated in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games and the won the World Championship in Tokyo in 1991, how much of a influence/inspiration has she been on your career?
My mum is a huge inspiration for me. I know first hand how hard she trained and how much of her life she dedicated towards the sport. There aren’t many female, world champions in the UK, so to have that advice directly from my own mum is really special.
What challenges are there for you as an athlete?
Injuries and illness are certainly the toughest. Both of those things can also have a knock on effect financially. Because if I can’t compete, then we don’t earn anything for those months or years.
As professional athletes, we are always pushing our bodies to their limit and unfortunately sometimes you can push over the edge.
What do you do in your spare time when you are not training or running at an event?
I spend all of my time with my boyfriend Michael, who is also an Olympic athlete, so when we’re not training we will just be relaxing and catching up with Netflix.
With the Olympic Games postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of athletes’ schedules are being affected, how is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting you and the races/marathons you participate in?
I’ve still been able to continue running as fortunately the guidelines allow us to run outside as normal but all of my races have been cancelled.
It’s mentally a little difficult to keep pushing in training when you don’t really have any upcoming goals to aim for but I’m staying positive and reminding myself that every bit of training I do now will make me into a stronger athlete next year! 2021 will be a really important year for us all.
What is the best part of being an athlete?
Travelling around the world. I love visiting different countries and immersing myself into their culture.
What advice would you give to younger people who want to get involved in athletics?
Join a local running club! It’s the best thing you could possibly do!
What makes you proud to be a Dundonian?
That sense of belonging. No matter where I am in the world, you never forget your home and the people who make it.