Eilish McColgan: ‘Wee sniff’ of success gives Scot hope of global medal
Eilish McColgan says “having a wee sniff” of major success this year has finally given her belief that a global medal is within her capabilities.
Illness contributed to a disappointing World Championships, but the Scot claimed Commonwealth Games 10,000m gold and 5,000m silver, plus European 10,000m bronze later in the summer.
“I had a lot of challenges this year and I feel everything I’ve achieved has been despite all of that. So I feel pretty confident about what the future holds,” the 31-year-old said.
“A global medal is not something I think about, maybe because I’ve never felt good enough to win one. It’s not like I’ve gone to bed dreaming of an Olympic or world medal.
“It’s really only the last year or two where I’ve had a wee bit of a sniff of it and thought ‘hmm, maybe I could’.
“My mum has always felt I could achieve great things but if you’d asked me four years ago if I thought I’d win Commonwealth Games gold and break the record in the same race my mum did, I’d think you were a lunatic.”
And yet, McColgan did just that this summer. Since then, she has resolved not to put a ceiling on her ambitions and trust that, if she stays healthy and keeps getting quicker, the right results will come.
The Dundonian is also having to adapt to the sudden increase in exposure that has come with her success. Even while on holiday in Egypt, she was being feted by fellow tourists.
“We got stopped, I think, five times by British people and I was thinking ‘this is bizarre’,” said McColgan, who won the Scottish Athletics Commonwealth Games achievement award on Saturday.
“I get it if I’m on a track, in lycra, with my hair up – I’m recognisable – but this was me in my holiday clothes and I had people asking for pictures. I’ve had grown men tell me they were crying watching me win… it’s very surreal, but it’s very special.
“Then this week, I’ve come back home and seen my wee granny who cuts every story about me out of the Dundee Courier and that’s when I realise what I achieved this summer. And to see what my success means to other people is overwhelming.”