Eilish McColgan retains title despite illness

EILISH McColgan retained her British 3,000-metre steeplechase title yesterday, just days after she thought a bout of food poisoning would prevent her from competing at all.

Eilish McColgan recovered from illness to win the womens 3,000m steeplechase. Picture: David Davies
Eilish McColgan recovered from illness to win the womens 3,000m steeplechase. Picture: David Davies
Eilish McColgan recovered from illness to win the womens 3,000m steeplechase. Picture: David Davies

McColgan finished ahead of fellow Scot Lenny Waite after looking out of sorts from much of the seven and a half laps, and although she was outside of the qualifying time for the European Championships, she was delighted that her form had borne up so well in the circumstances.

“It was self-inflicted,” the 23-year-old said of her illness, after running a season’s best of 9mins 50.06sec, some seven seconds outside the Euro standard.

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“There was a yoghurt that must have been out the fridge for about 12 days, I’d been away quite a lot, and I came back and saw it on the counter and just wanted it.

“The boys that I live with said ‘Don’t eat it’ and kept making a fuss, but I said it would be fine. I swear to God I must have taken one teaspoon, but it was obviously curdled and stuff. I was like, ‘It tastes fine, you guys are just moaning’.

“An hour later I was like The Exorcist. I was sick everywhere. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink even water.

“I called the doctor because it was two days from the trials. I texted my mum and she said ‘Why are you being so stingy? Just buy another yoghurt. You’re so stubborn’. For the next day and a half I couldn’t do a thing. So I’ve never been so relieved – one, to win a championship and two, to run 9mins 50sec.”

In the final event of day two at the Sainsbury’s British Championships, the 1,500m, Laura Muir came very close to making it a second title for the Scots, but had to settle for silver after being pipped to the line by England’s Laura Weightman.

Muir bided her time well in a slow and tactical race, and hit the front around 80m from home only for her namesake to strike back over the closing 30m and claim the gold. Weightman’s team-mate Hannah England was third.

“I didn’t want to give up,” Muir said. “I just had to keep working to the line, but Laura had a great sprint finish – she was just that bit better today. It’s great we’re both running so well at the minute.”

There were further Scottish medals in the hammer – where Mark Dry came third – the javelin – a bronze for James Campbell – and the discus, in which Kirsty Law was third. Other members of the Commonwealth Games squad look well placed to claim podium places this afternoon, foremost among them being Eilidh Child and Lynsey Sharp.

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Child qualified for the final of the 400m hurdles with considerable ease, opening up a yawning chasm between herself and the rest of the field in her semi-final to finish nearly five seconds clear. In the absence of Perri Shakes-Drayton, Child is a strong favourite to win the title today, but she expects – and hopes for – tougher competition in the final.

“It will be more competitive,” she said. “I’ll have Meghan Beasley and I’ll have Hayley McLean. A lot of people have said to me I’m the favourite by miles. But there’s never a favourite by miles in the hurdles, because anything could happen. I’m expecting a really good race.”

Sharp was always in control of her 800m semi-final, leading out from Lane One and ensuring she stayed ahead down the home straight. Sharp and Jessica Judd, second in her semi, are the only two to have qualifying times for the Euros, but they can expect competition in the final from Jenny Meadows. Edinburgh’s Emily Dudgeon qualified as a fastest loser.

“It was fun to get back out there,” said Sharp, whose race took place in a heavy downpour. “I wanted to get to the front and have a good run. It was really scrappy – I was getting tripped the whole of the second lap really badly. I just had to keep clear.

“It’s going to be a really good final. I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks. I can’t wait to get out there and race against the girls and put on a good show for the crowd.”

In the 400m, there was disappointment for Jamie Bowie, who finished fourth in his semi-final, failing to claim a place in the final.

“I’ve had a cold this week, so I wasn’t on as good form as I wanted to be,” he said. “I’ll go back, reset, and make sure I’m in the best shape possible for the Commonwealth Games.

“We’ve still got another two weeks of the European selection window open, so if I get another chance to prove myself we’ll wait and see how that goes. I’m not going to go back into hard training. I’ll look to get some more competitions ahead of the Games.”

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Scots to finish just outside the medals included Jayne Nesbit, who came fourth in the high jump, and Guy Learmonth, fifth in the 800m. Chris Bennett and Andy Frost finished fourth and fifth respectively behind Dry in the hammer.