New British record for Tokyo Olympics-bound Eilish McColgan after smashing Paula Radcliffe's 5km time

Eilish McColgan received a pre-Tokyo boost by setting a new British standard in 5km by taking more than half a second off Paula Radcliffe’s 17-year-old record.

Eilish McColgan set a new record just days before heading to the Olympics. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Eilish McColgan set a new record just days before heading to the Olympics. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Earlier this week McColgan was selected for this year’s Team GB heading to Japan which will place her among Scotland’s select band of female athletes to compete in three Olympics.

And she capped a memorable few days by making mum Liz, also a three-time Olympian, a ‘proud mama and proud coach’ with her performance in Norway.

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The 30-year-old finished fourth in the Diamond League meeting in Oslo, but stripped 18 seconds off her own best time following Kenya's Hellen Obiri and Ethipoians Fantu Worku and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi home.

Her 14:28.55 time bettered Radcliffe’s existing record of 14:29.11 which was set at the Spar European Cup in Bydgoszcz, Poland 17 years ago.

Fellow Scottish runner and British record holder in the 1500m, Laura Muir, tweeted: “@EilishMccolgan!! New 5000m British Record Holder!! Amazing!!”

Mum Liz, who also coaches her eldest daughter, added: “Oh my days we knew it was on!!!! @EilishMccolgan the fastest ever British 5km runner 14:28.55 ….. proud mama proud coach.”

McColgan senior won Olympic silver in Seoul 1988 for the 10km, and was fifth in Barcelona four years later. She ran the marathon in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics. Eilish, born midway between the Seoul and Barcelona games, will compete in the 5km in Tokyo having raced the 3km steeplechase at London in 2012 and 5km in Rio four years later. She will double up with the 10km later that week.

Her selection this year, sets her alongside Lee McConnell and her mum as female athletes qualifying for participation in three Olympic Games. Steph Twell’s selection in the marathon also adds her name to the illustrious group.

Earlier this week Eilish wrote: “Officially selected for my THIRD Olympic Games! It still sounds a little surreal, but I'm super proud to represent Team GB once more in what will be my third different individual event. From the Steeplechase in 2012 to the 5,000m in 2016 and now the 5/10K double in 2021.”

McColgan set her previous best time of 14:46 – a Scottish record – in Doha in 2019. The run in Norway now places the Dundee Hawkhill Harrier fifth on the European all-time list.

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