Eilish McColgan shares story of following in the footsteps of her mother

The Scots athlete will star in Running In The Family alongside her mother and coach Liz, who was herself a renowned distance runner.

Eilish McColgan tells inside story of following in the footsteps of her mother in documentary STV News

Scottish athlete Eilish McColgan will share her story in a new documentary set to air this week.

The middle and long-distance runner will star in Running In The Family, which tracks her efforts to eclipse her mother Liz’s athletic achievements.

In the hour-long documentary, Eilish is seen preparing for the 2024 London Marathon, undertaking tough, high-altitude training in the French Pyrenees.

The marathon is the only distance at which her mother, renowned Scottish runner Liz McColgan, still holds a faster time than her daughter.

Eilish is joined by her partner of 10 years, and three-time Olympian, Michael Rimmer.

She gives a behind-the-scenes look at her battles with injuries as she prepares to tackle a competitive marathon for the first time.

In the documentary, mother Liz tells how running helped her escape a tough upbringing in Dundee, during which her best friend died of a drug overdose.

She went on to win gold medals at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games, and a silver at the Olympics, but was dropped by her sponsor, Nike, when she revealed she was pregnant with Eilish.

Liz said: “I went for a run, and I couldn’t breathe properly. So I went to the doctor, and lo and behold, I was four months pregnant – I didn’t even know it.”

“I got dropped from my sponsor. Back then, if anyone had a child, they usually just quit.

“When Eilish came along, it was like everything was about her now, and I wanted to do things for her.

“My running was about making her proud. I wanted to do things so that when she grows up she’s like, ‘Oh my mum did that’.

“When she slept, I ran. I was determined to prove I could still be successful.”

Liz previously won the New York, London and Tokyo marathons, and held the Scottish marathon record until 2019 when her time was surpassed by Stephanie Twell.

Liz was back in training just two weeks after Eilish was born, with her first race seven weeks later.

Eilish, 32, said: “I just feel very, very fortunate to be my mum’s daughter. I’m very proud of that fact as well.

“I was very fortunate to have a role model like that growing up. I probably didn’t realise it at the time but now, when I look back for sure, she instilled hard work into me from a very young age and instilled in me that it doesn’t happen overnight either; it’s a long process.”

She added: “One by one I started taking all the records, the Scottish records, back into my family name, but it’s never been a rivalry; my mum’s my coach, she’s part of the reason I’m breaking these records.”

Liz commented: “I’m so far removed from my career now; I don’t even think about it. I get more out of what Eilish achieves.”

The documentary reveals Eilish’s teenage years and early 20s, and how a party lifestyle almost derailed her career while she was a student at the University of Dundee.

Now Eilish is a world-class athlete and trains 51 weeks a year, battling injuries in pursuit of success.

The documentary was created by Studio Something, an Edinburgh-based film company.

Executive producer, and Studio Something co-founder, Jordan Laird, said: “Making this documentary was an emotional journey for everyone involved. Liz and Eilish have been in the public eye for so long, but I think this is the most behind-the-scenes look at their relationship they’ve given.

“The film doesn’t just show the dedication it takes to get to the unbelievable heights that both have been able to achieve but also an insight into an incredibly unique mother-daughter relationship.

“After being so emotionally invested as Eilish gritted it out to win gold at the Commonwealth Games last year, we knew this was a story we were fascinated by and determined to try to capture not just the drama of the final moments but all the years and effort that goes in, often unseen, to having that moment.”

“Whether it’s for a brand or for broadcast, we always want to tell interesting stories and ultimately, make something people genuinely like.

“We’re very proud of the end result – it’s an incredible story of two amazing people Scotland should be extremely proud of.”

Eilish McColgan: Running In The Family airs on BBC Scotland at 10pm on Thursday November 30. It will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

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