Elizabeth McColgan

24 May 1964


Elizabeth ("Liz") McColgan (née Lynch) MBE is a Scottish former middle-distance and long-distance track and road-running athlete.

Born Elizabeth Lynch, she grew up in the Whitfield area of Dundee and was a pupil of St Saviour's RC High School.

She joined her local athletics club, the Hawkhill Harriers, at age 12 at the advice of her PE teacher Phil Cairns. Coached by Harry Bennett, she soon discovered a talent for distance running and won her first UK titles at the age of 18. Following Bennett's death, McColgan self-coached herself in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986.

At the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, McColgan took the gold medal in the 10,000 metres, finishing nearly 12 seconds ahead of the nearest competitor and giving the host country its only gold medal in Athletics. This was followed by a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

McColgan was the 1986 NCAA National Champion in the mile run representing the Alabama Crimson Tide in the American collegiate Indoor Track and Field national Championships and was the school's record-holder for the mile run. McColgan won silver in the 3,000 metres at the World Indoor Championships in 1989. She became the only Scot to successfully defended a Commonwealth title at the 1990 games in Auckland, New Zealand, when she took the gold for the 10,000 metres again, as well as taking bronze at the 3,000 metres. In August 1991, she won gold in the 10,000 metres at the World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. In November of that year at the New York City Marathon, her first marathon, she won with a time of 2:27.23, beating the record for a debut marathon by three minutes.

In 1992, she won the inaugural World Half Marathon Championships, where she also helped the British team claim the silver medal in the team competition. Later that year, she won the Tokyo International Women's Marathon. In 1996, she won theLondon Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 54 seconds.

McColgan retired from competing in August 2001 when she fractured a bone in her foot while training for selection for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. However she returned in 2004 to win the Scottish Indoor Championships 3000 metres (in 9:31). In 2007, she ran the London Marathon, finishing 25th in 2:50:38. She also completed the 2010 New York Marathon in 3:10:54.

In 1987 she married Northern Irish athlete Peter McColgan; they have five children. The eldest, Eilish, won the 2004 British cross country championships in her age-group, was ranked top in Scotland over 800 metres and 1500 metres in her age-group and competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the 3000 metres steeplechase. The couple separated in November 2010. On 18 January 2014, McColgan was married to John Nuttall.

In December 1991, McColgan appeared on This Is Your Life and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1992 and inducted to the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

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