Eilish McColgan will next week take the first steps on the winter training programme she hopes can lead her to the Olympics for the second time.
The Scottish steeplechase record holder has been recovering from ankle surgery and hasn’t been able to run for nine months.
Now, after a long process of rehab, medical specialists have told her to ‘start jogging’ again as she looks to repeat almost exactly what happened to her in 2011-2012 when the fiercely-determined Scot came back from a different problem in the same foot/ankle area to win the British title and qualify for the Olympics in London.
‘I’ve been through a lot of rehab work and now I can jog again – starting next Monday,’ she said.
‘They have told me I can do seven minutes. I don’t care how short a time it is because I just want that feeling of running again! It is not the same when you are cross-training or even using an Alter-G (Anti-Gravity) running machine, where your body-weight is supported.
‘If I can fit three months of training in, building it up, then I would be looking to get out to Kenya in January and do some altitude training. I might not be quite ready for it at that time but I will just have to push myself towards that with trying to qualify for Rio in mind.
‘For me, the Olympics remains the main objective of the year. I’d love to be there competing for the GB team, but it’s a little bit of a race against the clock now as to how quickly I can get myself back in shape.’
The 24-year-old Scot, three times British champion in the steeplechase, may even change event to 5000m or 10,000m on the flat for her Olympic bid but first and foremost she must build up her fitness.
McColgan was in Scotland this weekend to help legal firm Lindsays, one of her sponsors, make a special presentation to Edinburgh AC.
The Lindsays Trophy forms part of the three-year partnership between Lindsays and scottishathletics which takes in a series of regional and Scottish National cross country events.
Edinburgh AC were presented with the Lindsays Trophy having achieved the highest number of finishers at the National XC in Falkirk earlier this year. The club had 84 runners crossing the finish line including athletes across all the age groups, and male and female races.
Nigel Holl, chief executive of scottishathletics commented: ‘A remarkable 87 clubs were represented at Falkirk that day which reflects the rising numbers of entries and finishers across all the races throughout the Scottish Cross Country Season. The significant increases year on year highlight the growing popularity of endurance racing and is very encouraging for the development of the sport.’
Lindsays Chief Operating Officer, Ian Beattie added: ‘We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with scottishathletics to support the Scottish Cross Country Season which reinforces our commitment to the sport. I look forward to witnessing the on-going success of these events over the season and recognise the importance of the Season for athletes and clubs throughout Scotland.’
Lindsays offer support to McColgan, three-times British champion at 3000m steeplechase. Eilish believes that cross country is a fundamental part of athletics. She said: ‘My first experience of running and the reason I decided to go along to an athletics club was my involvement in the local primary school race – I absolutely loved it. My first ever British Title actually came from cross country as an under 13.”
The first event of the new season is the National XC Relays at Cumbernauld on Saturday 24 October 2015. The closing date for entries is Tuesday 6 October.