Eilish McColgan: Scot 'excited' by Tokyo Olympics distance double

Eilish McColgan made the 5,000m final at the Rio Olympics in 2016
Eilish McColgan made the 5,000m final at the Rio Olympics in 2016

Eilish McColgan is "excited" to go for the distance double at the Tokyo Olympics - 30 years after her mother Liz won 10,000m world gold in the same city.

The 29-year-old will run in the 5,000m at next year's rescheduled Games - her third Olympics - and hopes to also qualify for the longer distance.

Eilish, who is coached by her mother, will then focus fully on the marathon.

"It feels like a natural progression," she told BBC Scotland Sportsound.

"I used to do the steeplechase, which is only 3,000m, so the 10,000m was this big scary event of 25 laps.

"We've built up to that both physically and mentally to try to get me to believe I'm capable of running that distance.

"I'm excited now to aim for 10,000m, put everything into it and see what I can do next year. I'd love to qualify for my third Olympic Games and it would be my third event as well, which is quite unusual."

McColgan made her Olympics debut in the steeplechase at London 2012 and was a 5,000m finalist at Rio four years later.

Mum Liz, though - who won 10,000m gold at world and Commonwealth level as well as Olympic silver - has "known since day one" that her daughter is best suited to the marathon.

"Her running gait and ability, and she's very efficient on the road as well, so I've always had her as a marathon runner," said Liz. "We've slowly chipped away it at and we're on that pathway.

"She has come back from a couple of really bad injuries, which would have been career threatening, and that shows she has the strength of character and you need for the marathon and 10,000m."

With the 2020 race calendar having been decimated by Covid-19, Doha-based Liz believes lockdown has proved beneficial in preparing Eilish for the longer distances.

"It has given us time to experiment and try new sessions," she added. "Eilish has embraced it really well and physically she is getting stronger."

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