The good clean mountain air has restored the holistic calm in Eilish McColgan’s body and soul. Just in time, she acknowledges, as the European track campaign begins to hit its stride with tonight’s Diamond League meeting in Stockholm.
The Dundonian, now 28, feels she is belatedly picking up the pace following three weeks of graft in St Moritz. That after a singular outing at the start of this month in California where a combination of injury and illness forced her into a rare abandonment.
“I was ill pretty much the entire indoor season and wasn’t in a good place, mentally or physically,” she revealed. “I shouldn’t have done the British or the European Championships. So this is the first time I’ve been in a good place.”
If she had felt composed again, then it was lost when McColgan found out last night that her flat in Manchester had been ransacked in her absence. “No idea what’s stolen aside from all my jewellery and a few medals,” she said. A devastating distraction ahead of racing the 5,000 metres in the Swedish capital this evening where her foes include Kenya’s reigning world champion at the distance, Hellen Obiri. Her Alpine training camp, the double European medallist hopes, has her re-tuned for a campaign that will culminate at the autumn’s IAAF world championships in Doha.
Unlike Dundee Hawkhill club-mate Laura Muir, who will run the non-Diamond League 1,500m in Stockholm, McColgan did not embrace the full offerings of St Moritz including the iconic Cresta Run which is requisitioned as a hilly circuit once its usefulness as a bobsleigh track has melted away.
“I don’t have a car because hiring one is way outside my budget,” she said. “So I never get the chance to get out and about. I live a pretty simple life in my one-bed studio. I walk to the track and the gym and I run straight on to my beautiful trails from my door. But there is something about the mountains which feels so relaxing. I’m totally isolated – eating, sleeping and running and that’s it. ”
Muir’s opposition tonight includes fellow Scot Jemma Reekie, with their young training partner Kerry Macangus getting a first taster of a major meeting as the pacemaker. Lynsey Sharp runs the 800m while Dina Asher-Smith chases a second Diamond League win of this season in the 200m.