An Account on Liz McColgan

Author: Alastair Aitken

(July 2019)  

Liz who was firstly married to Peter McColgan, the international steeplechaser. They had five children, one of the children was Eilish who has now become a good international class middle distance runner.

Liz McCoglan’s second marriage, on the 18th of January 2014, was to her current husband John Nutall, who is, not only a top UK coach but a previous National cross country senior winner in 1996 and, an international on the country and track. Liz’ full title is Elizabeth McCoglan-Nuttall MBE. Her birth name was Elizabeth Lynch and, she was born in Dundee on the 24th of May 1964.

I can well remember Brendan Foster, who was an outstanding runner himself, commentating for BBC Television in Tokyo, on the 1991 World Women’s 10,000. He felt, at the time, it was the ‘Greatest’ performance by a British athlete he had seen. He was referring to Liz McColgan when she won the World 10k Championships Final.

That was the type of respect people had for the, lightly built woman with a heart of Gold. A typically brave and determined Scott she was…

Liz herself told me that it would go down as her most outstanding run for her.It was so tough, really tough conditionsshe remarked.

In that race in Tokyo it was 78% humidity and 27’0 C. The result was 1 Liz McColgan (GB) 31:14,31; 2 Zhong Huandi (China) 31:35.08; 3 Wang Xiuting (China) 31:35.99 and behind that came several notable names on the international scene, Katherine Ullrich (Germany); Lynn Jennings (USA); Utta Pipping (Germany); Ingrid Kristiansen (Norway); and Deratu Tulu (Ethiopia).

LM “I first started running at 11 and joined Dundee Hawkhill athletics club when I was 12

When did she realise that she had some sort of talent that might take her far in the future?

“When I was 16/17 I ran 2.7 for 800. I thought that was pretty good! ‘She continued “I worked in a mill when I was 16/17; it was not very conducive to running. But then I went off to the States and, came back a proper athlete. I was at the University of Alabama and won American titles like the NCAA. In America. I got the opportunity to be a full time athlete so; I came back a lot stronger and a proper athlete.”

Over the years she has often been self-coached but mentions three who have helped her with her athletics and they were Harry Bennett, John Anderson (Dave Moorcroftt’s coach) and Greta Waitz the fine Norwegian distance runner.

Of her achievements I will list some of them. As a matter of interest, when I  talked to her was, when she came down to support her daughter Eilish McCoglan, in the European Cup 10,000, which was held in conjunction with the Highgate Harrier Ben Pochee’s Night of the 10k PB’s at Parliament Hill, on the 6/7/19. Eilish came 3rd in the European Cup 10k in 31:16.76, well inside the qualifying time of 31:50 for the World Championships to be held later in 2019.

I would  like to point out at the time of writing this in 2019 Liz McColgan-Nuttall still holds the Scottish 10k track record of 30:57.07 done in 1991 and for the marathon of 2:26.52 in 1997.She attained a silver medal in the Olympics of 1988 in the 10,000m (1 Olga Bondarenko ( URS) 31:05.21; 2. Liz McColgon (GBR) 31:08.34; 3 Yelena Zhupiyova URS/UKR 31:19.82) Besides Liz Gold n the Tokyo World Champs over 10k, she obtained a silver medal over 3000 In the world Indoors at Budapest in 1989 and silver & bronze medals in the World cross country of 1986 & 1990 respectively. She won the Commonwealth Gold medals over 10k on the track  in 1986 & 1990 and was World half marathon Champion on the road in Newcastle in 1992 in 68:53

What was her favourite thing road, cross country or track?

 L M “10k road running’

Special memories?

LM “I broke World records several times. Being the fastest woman in the World (Fastest ever on a certified 10k course in Tokyo in January 1992)

She won the London Marathon in 1996; Tokyo Marathon in 1992 and the New York Marathon in 1991. She was also 2nd in the London Marathon in 2:26.52 in 1997. But above all one thing topped her personal list

          “Being the 1991 BBC Sports Personality, as it was from all the sports not just athletics.