Track champion Eilish McColgan has been back in her home city inspiring the next generation of athletes.
The 10,000 metres Commonwealth Gold Medallist met children in Dundee who are benefitting from a project she’s set up to remove financial hurdles to the sport.
Giving Back to Track is a not-for-profit founded by Olympic athletes, Eilish McColgan and partner Michael Rimmer encouraging kids from all backgrounds to take up running.
McColgan told STV News: “I’m very fortunate with what the sport has given me.
“I had my mum and dad who were able to drive me the length and breadth of Scotland to get to events, to get to competitions, to pay my track fees, but I’m aware that not everyone has that access, my Mum never had that access.
“So it’s about bit of giving back and giving kids the chance to try athletics and then there’s that link, if they love it they can go along to Dundee Hawkhill Harriers which is the club that I joined, I’m still a member to this day.”
The not-for-profit organisation is sponsoring an after-school club at Dundee’s Balgarthno Campus for children in P5-7 and the costs of five young athletes who attend weekly Hawhill Harrier track sessions.
Oliver Stuart, 10, said: “I like running because it improves my health and advantages in life.”
Chloe Donaldson, 11, said: “I watched her in the Commonwealth Games and I thought I could maybe be a mini her.”
It comes after a stellar season for McColgan, who scooped Commonwealth Gold in the 10,000 metres along with silver and bronze at the European Championships.
Earlier this month the runner had her latest European and British 10k records invalidated after it emerged this year’s Great Scottish Run was 150 metres short, with organisers apologising and blaming it on “human error.”
She remains the record-holder after she set the fastest times for both at the Great Manchester Run in May this year.
McColgan has her sights set on upping the distance next season.
“I have a debut pending for the London Marathon in April, that’s the goal, that’s the target,” she explained.
“I feel like that’s the next chapter of my career now. I’ve had a great career on the track, I’ve enjoyed it for years, but it’s time to have something new to challenge and to work towards.
“We also have the World Championships in Budapest next year and then of course Paris 2024, so all going well I’d like to think Paris would be at the marathon.
“For moments like this today, to be around the kids, to be home, even in Carnoustie, I just went for a run there and everyone was stopping me.
“Every man and their dog was stopping me to say well done and congratulations, it’s overwhelming.
“It’s given me an extra boost to be honest of motivation for next year.
“I know it’s not just me and my family – t’s the city of Dundee, the people of Carnoustie, it’s everyone that I’ve grown up around, it’s really special.”