Great South Run winner Eilish McColgan – last year I was petrified, this year I’m absolutely buzzing!
Eilish McColgan broke one of her mum’s records and equalled another in a memorable 30th staging of the Great South Run.
Her time of 51 minutes 36 seconds in the Southsea sunshine yesterday saw her achieve what she set out to do - break mum Liz’s Scottish 10-mile record of 52.00 set at the same venue in 1997.
Eilish’s time elevated her to second on the British all-time list behind Paula Radcliffe, who ran 51.11 in 2008.
She led from the starting gun and romped to victory in a time three minutes quicker than her 2018 winning GSR time of 54.43.
Eilish’s winning time was almost four minutes quicker than runner-up Verity Ockenden, who recorded 55.18.
Eilish is coached by her mum, who wasn’t in Southsea, and she added: ‘I can’t wait to phone her! ‘She told me I was capable of running 51.30 and she knows me better than anyone. She won’t set goals I couldn’t reach.
'Last year I was petrified before running this race as I'd never done anything like this before. Today was easier - I knew what to expect and it was all about trying to break 52.00 dead and my mum's Scottish record. I'm absolutely buzzing I did it!'
Eilish admitted it felt a bit strange running on her own for most of the race.
‘Mentally it’s tougher to run on your own, I had to imagine the cameraman on the car in front was a competitor and try to latch onto them!’
Eilish also praised the spectators who turned out to watch one of the south coast’s premier sporting attractions.
‘It was great, there was someone playing the bagpipes - I ran past them to the tune of the Proclaimers’ ‘500 miles’. There were even a few ‘go on, Liz’ shouts - that always makes me smile!’
Southsea success marked the end of McColgan’s racing year, with 2020 thoughts firmly on her third Olympics in Toyko.
She ran for GB at London 2012 in the 3000m steeplechase, and upgraded to the 5000m in Rio four years later.
One date in her dairy next year, though, will be the Great South Run.
Eilish yesterday became the seventh woman to win the race twice - after Liulia Negura (1992 and 1993), Sonia O’Sullivan (2002 and 2003), Restituta Joseph (2000 and 2001), Jo Pavey (2006 and 2012), Derartu Tulu (1996 and 2005) and mum Liz (1995 and 1997).
But no woman has ever claimed three GSR wins, let alone in a row ...