in your mother's footsteps takes on a whole new meaning when the treads
belong to one of the greatest athletes of all time. But not even the
prospect of being compared to an Olympic silver medal list and world
championship winner also known as mum has deterred Liz McColgan's talented
a loving and fiercely protective parent, Liz insists she has no set
ambitions or expectations for Eilish's running or sporting career. But she
does admit that she gets just as nervous and excited when Eilish is
preparing for a big race as she did getting ready for her Olympic and
World Championship finals.
said: ''When she
runs, it is a really similar feeling to those sorts of moments, because
you want her to do well and you know what talent she has.
if she runs really well, we do get really excited because I know what it
feels like and how good it can be.
few days ago, she said for the first time that she wanted to be a runner,
and she does have an incredible talent, with a real will to win and a
determination which makes me think she could really do well.''
13 year old is making bigger waves in the sport than either her mum or
steeplechase runner dad Peter made at her age and she is currently ranked
best in her year group in Britain. Collecting cross country running titles
all over the country, she is one of Scotland's outstanding young
athletics' talents. In the last year, Liz, 39, has stepped up her comeback
from retirement to help coach and train her promising first-born giving
other runners the daunting prospect of lining up against two McColgans.
had been forced to retire three years ago after suffering persistent foot
injuries, but after a series of operations, she declared herself fit to
compete on a limited basis, and now runs in the senior events at her
who is also the chairman of Scottish Athletics, and Eilish are now gearing
up for the Scottish Cross Country Championships in Perth this month both
are favourites to win.
fact that Liz McColgan's daughter is so talented shouldn't be too much of
a surprise when you consider her genes and upbringing in the athletics'
was born in 1990, when her mother was at the top of her game and racing
around the world picking up gold and silvers at Olympic and World
Championships, and baby Eilish was with her every step of the way.
while she wasn't exactly asking for spikes or starter blocks from Santa,
the idea of running before you can walk has been second nature to Eilish.
firmly settled at their family home, close to the main branch of her
successful chain of gyms, Liz said: ''Running
has always been part of her because we have been training and competing
for most of her years. We would take her to races and she was flying all
over the world with us when I was at the peak of my career.
always remember when she was about two or three, we were in a butcher's
shop and there was another mum in there with a weeboy, and I looked down
to see Eilish pressed against the glass counter doing calf stretches
trying to outdo this boy. 'It was so funny and it just showed how much she
was into the lifestyle without even knowing it.
we did cut back on the travelling after a couple of years because one time
we came back to our house in Arbroath after a trip and she didn't even
recognise it as home and didn't know she could play with toys in her room.
has been something for her to get used to and there is still a lot of the
kiddie about her.
of the things she had to get used to was the downside of being my daughter
and we had to explain some people's reactions to her at races. 'People
would finish ahead of her and she would wonder why their parents were
saying 'oh well done, you beat the McColgan girl, ' and that's not nice,
but it's just part of what she has to deal with.''
career start couldn't be more different than her mum's, though.
pounded the hard streets of Dundee on her way to and practised in between
shifts in a jute factory until she won a scholarship to an American
college at the age of 18.
daughter, however, won't have to go as far as Alabama or Idaho for her
training, and has much wider access to better facilities and coaching, not
to mention having a world champion on hand for advice. Although naturally
fit and possessing the thin and sleek build of a distance runner, the
prodigy only started showing promise two years ago when she was drafted
into a race by a primary school sports coach impressed by her surname.
After surprising herself with her performance, coming second, the McColgan
genes started to kick in and she decided to take it up seriously.
despite her thoroughbred genetics, the smiling teenager is determined to
make a name for herself, by herself.
said: ''I realised
that I really liked running and wanted to join a club, so mum decided I
should join her old Dundee club Hawk hill Harriers.''
added: ''When she
wanted to start running, there was no way she was going to join any other
club. I've always been a life member and the club is still close to my
heart and it is just the same 20 years on.''
continued: ''I would
like to run professionally, but you don't know what can happen or if I'll
be good enough. 'I love sports, though, and I would definitely love to
work in running or sports, like a PE teacher or something.
try to never think about comparisons with anyone else. 'What my mum
achieved was great and amazing but she is still my mum, and that's how
I've always thought of her. And when I'm running, I'm doing it as myself,
not anybody's daughter, and I want to be successful as myself.
been doing cross country all winter, but I'll be doing more track work in
the spring and further distances. 'But I prefer cross country you go up
and down over hills, but going round and round on a track all the time is
just so boring.''
she's not pounding the track or training, the shy, intelligent and
cheerful teenager is just like any other 13 year old. She thinks Orlando
Bloom and Justin Timberlake are wonderful and listens to the charts,
especially Franz Ferdinand and The Darkness although she denies ever
liking Busted and she likes to play computer games with her three younger
her mum thinks it is vitally important that she has enough time to act her
age. Liz said: ''Because
of who we are, most people tend to think she'll be out training every day
and practising all the time.
she actually trains less than most of the kids she is running against.
Some are out there five or six days a week, but we try and keep her to two
or three nights.
important that we don 't force her into anything. If we are making her do
it, she will never be successful because she needs to want to do it.''
added: ''She does
have a talent for it and is a great runner and I would be disappointed if
she said tomorrow that she wanted to give it up, but whatever she wants to
do we will support her completely.
is still only 13 and I wouldn't want to make any kind of predictions for
her because there is a lot of growing up to do and she'll have to stick
with it. But she is definitely better than I was at her age if she is this
good when she is turning 17, then it'll be time to get really excited.''