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Liz Lynch

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Liz Lynch

Liz McColgan
Personal information
Birth name Elizabeth Lynch
Nationality  Scotland
Born (1964-05-24) 24 May 1964 (age 50)
Dundee, Scotland, UK
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 45 kg (99 lb; 7.1 st)
Country  Great Britain
Sport Running
Event(s) 10,000 metres
3,000 metres
Club Dundee Hawks

Elizabeth ("Liz") McColgan (née Lynch) MBE (born 24 May 1964) is a Scottish former middle-distance and long-distance track and road-running athlete. She won the gold medal for the 10,000 metres at the 1991 World Championships, and a silver medal over the same distance at the 1988 Olympic Games. She was also a two-time gold medalist over the distance at the Commonwealth Games, as well as winning the World Half Marathon Championships, New York City Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and London Marathon.

Early life

Born Elizabeth Lynch,[1] she grew up in the Whitfield area of Dundee[2] and was a pupil of St Saviour's RC High School.

She joined her local athletics club, the Hawkhill Harriers, at age 12 at the advice of her PE teacher Phil Cairns.[3][4] Coached by Harry Bennett, she soon discovered a talent for distance running and won her first UK titles at the age of 18.[3] Following Bennett's death, McColgan self-coached herself in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986.[3]

Athletics career

At the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, McColgan took the gold medal in the 10,000 metres, finishing nearly 12 seconds ahead of the nearest competitor and giving the host country its only gold medal in Athletics.[5] This was followed by a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

McColgan was the 1986 NCAA National Champion in the mile run representing the Alabama Crimson Tide in the American collegiate Indoor Track and Field national Championships and was the school's record-holder for the mile run. McColgan won silver in the 3,000 metres at the World Indoor Championships in 1989. She became the only Scot to successfully defended a Commonwealth title at the 1990 games in Auckland, New Zealand, when she took the gold for the 10,000 metres again, as well as taking bronze at the 3,000 metres.[2] In August 1991, she won gold in the 10,000 metres at the World Championships in Tokyo, Japan.[6] In November of that year at the New York City Marathon, her first marathon, she won with a time of 2:27.23, beating the record for a debut marathon by three minutes.[7]

In 1992, she won the inaugural World Half Marathon Championships, where she also helped the British team claim the silver medal in the team competition. Later that year, she won the Tokyo International Women's Marathon. In 1996, she won the London Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 54 seconds.

Later career

McColgan retired from competing in August 2001 when she fractured a bone in her foot while training for selection for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.[2] However she returned in 2004 to win the Scottish Indoor Championships 3000 metres (in 9:31). In 2007, she ran the London Marathon, finishing 25th in 2:50:38. She also completed the 2010 New York Marathon in 3:10:54.

Personal life

In 1987 she married Northern Irish athlete Peter McColgan; they have five children: Eilish, Martin, Eamonn, Kieran and Orla. The eldest, Eilish, won the 2004 British cross country championships in her age-group, was ranked top in Scotland over 800 metres and 1500 metres in her age-group and competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the 3000 metres steeplechase.[8] The couple separated in November 2010.[9]


In December 1991, McColgan appeared on This Is Your Life and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1992 and inducted to the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.[10]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  Scotland
1986 Commonwealth Games Edinburgh, Scotland 1st 10,000 m 31:41.42
1987 World Cross Country Championships Warsaw, Poland 2nd
1990 Commonwealth Games Auckland, New Zealand 1st 10,000 m 32:23.56
3rd 3,000 m 8:47.66
Representing  Great Britain
1986 European Championships Stuttgart, West Germany 12th 3000 m 9:02.42
7th 10,000 m 31:49.46
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy 5th 10,000 m 31:19.82
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 2nd 10,000 m 31:08.44
1989 World Indoor Championships Budapest, Hungary 6th 1500 m 4:10.16
2nd 3000 m 8:34.80
1991 World Cross Country Championships Antwerp, Belgium 3rd
World Championships Tokyo, Japan 1st 10,000 m 31:14.31
New York City Marathon New York, United States 1st Marathon 2:27:32
1992 World Cross Country Championships Boston, United States 41st
Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain 5th 10,000 m 31:26.11
World Half Marathon Championships Newcastle, United Kingdom 1st Half marathon 1:08:53
Tokyo Marathon Tokyo, Japan 1st Marathon 2:27:38
1993 World Cross Country Championships Amorebieta, Spain 5th
London Marathon London, United Kingdom 3rd Marathon 2:29:37
1995 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 5th Marathon 2:31:14
World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 6th 10,000 m 31:40.14
Tokyo Marathon Tokyo, Japan 7th Marathon 2:30:32
1996 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 1st Marathon 2:27:54
Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 16th Marathon 2:34:30
1997 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 2nd Marathon 2:26:52
1998 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 2nd Marathon 2:26:54
2007 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 25th Marathon 2:50:38


External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
England Paul Gascoigne
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
England Nigel Mansell
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Norway Ingrid Kristiansen
Women's 5,000 m Best Year Performance
1987 – 1988
Succeeded by
East Germany Kathrin Weßel
Preceded by
Kenya Tegla Loroupe
Zevenheuvelenloop Women's Winner (15 km)
Succeeded by
Kenya Helen Kimaiyo
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