British half marathon record holder to run 26.2 miles for the first time, at TCS London Marathon on October 2
Eilish McColgan will make her much anticipated marathon debut in London on October 2 as she takes on a world class field around the streets of the British capital.
The 31-year-old Scot broke Paula Radcliffe’s British half marathon record of 1:06:47 back on February 19, after clocking 1:06:26 at Ras Al Khaimah and now feels like it’s the right time to take on the marathon.
Since McColgan started competing on the roads she has broken the British 5km record, European 10km record and set a British best over 10 miles.
Given her natural progression through the higher distances on both track and field, it was always a question of not if but when McColgan took on 26.2 miles.
“It’s really just coming from a confidence side of things,” McColgan says. “I think I’ve known for like a very long time that like, this is where my career would go. I think my mum and my dad have known even longer than I have. From being a young kid they always said the marathon was the event I’d end up going to.
“The way I’ve progressed over the years now through the distances, taking on both the 5km and 10km, I remember thinking, I’ll never ever run a half marathon. And yet now, I’m excited. I couldn’t wait to get out and race it against some of those the top athletes in the world.
“It is my choice. I feel I’m going to do it when I’m ready to do it and I think that’s that time is coming now. I think there’s no better place to do that than the London Marathon.
McColgan takes to the streets of the British capital 26 years after her mum, Liz McColgan won the race. Like Eilish, Liz started out on the track and gradually progressed to the marathon, winning on debut in New York in 1991 before her triumph in London five years later.
“It’s amazing and it’s a bit surreal,” McColgan adds. “The more iconic images I’ve got in my head as a youngster were my mum running the London Marathon with Buckingham Palace in the background. It’s just incredible that so many years later I’m following in her footsteps and I think she’s excited to see that finally come into action.
“It’s always the iconic event. It was the one where I always watched my mum run as a kid when I sat in the hospitality area and ate all the free food! There’s not a London Marathon that my mum and dad have ever missed. It’s just got a buzz and everyone speaks about it, even those who don’t know much about athletics.”
Although this is McColgan’s debut marathon she does have experience of the London circuit though, having been the pacemaker for Charlotte Purdue last year.
Purdue is also part of the line-up which includes world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, defending champion Joyciline Jepkosgei and the fastest-ever female marathon debutant Yalemzerf Yehualaw.
Ethiopian duo Degitu Azimeraw and Ashete Bekere, who finished second and third last year, also return. Bekere finished second behind Kosgei at this year’s Tokyo Marathon.
In total, the field contains an astonishing nine women who have run inside 2:20.
So, how fast can McColgan run?
“I think to be competitive against the other British girls, I think we’re definitely capable of running 2:20 or under,” she says. “That’s certainly something that over from between now to Paris, I’ll have a big goal of trying to get down to those sort of times.
“Is 2:15 [Paula Radcliffe’s British and European record] unrealistic? Right now, I’d say so but if you ask me in a year’s time, who knows? I feel like I’m definitely growing with confidence. The more that I get these races behind me and certainly on the roads as well, as I said, it’s totally new to me.
“So I don’t want to completely limit myself because that’s certainly what I’ve done in the past. I just had no belief at all that I would ever achieve any of these times but I’m a different person now.”