A three times Olympic athlete has hit the ground running in a bid to support fellow Scottish sportswomen.
Record breaking British and European middle and long-distance runner Eilish McColgan has a string of records under her belt – and this month (June 2022) broke her mother Liz’s Scottish record to win a 10,000m race in the Netherlands with a time of 30 minutes 19.02 seconds.
And now she hopes to give others a helping hand to boost their own sporting careers.
Thirty-one-year-old Eilish and her partner, Olympian Michael Rimmer, 36, have jointly set up Giving Back To Track; a non-profit organisation that aims to inspire women from all walks of life to reach their athletic best.
Not only have they created a fund to provide financial help to female athletes in Scotland, aged between 16 and 22, but they have also launched a community scheme that supports Eilish’s local club, Dundee Hawkhill Harriers.
Giving Back to Track was formed just six weeks ago after what Eilish described as a “brainstorm” moment earlier this year.
“I realised how incredibly lucky I’ve been to have support and sponsorship and now that I’m a little more comfortable I wanted to give something back,” she said.
“I know how hard it is to get started in this career, so we thought we’d put a call out to ask other female athletes in Scotland if we could help – they don’t need to be runners, they can be from any disciplines within running or track and field.
Giving Back to Track has already awarded six £1000 bursaries along with sports clothing from sponsors and career guideline advice from Eilish and Michael.
Eilish, whose mother Liz McColgan won the 10,000m world title in 1991, said initially the scheme will focus on her local club Dundee Hawkhill Harriers and will support young women and children from the community.
“No child should be priced out of a sport,” she said.
“There are so many costs involved; the cost of track facilities, buying training kits, transportation and paying for club fees and this is where we are able to help”.
If the scheme runs smoothly, Eilish and Michael hope to extend the sponsorship more widely: “We’re really just at the starting point – we’d actually love to grow it to include guys as well and not just in Scotland but in England, Wales and Ireland,” she said.
Last month (May 2022) Eilish claimed the European and British 10km road race at the Great Manchester Run, shaving two seconds from Paula Radcliffe’s unbeaten 19-year record, with a time of 30 minutes and 19 seconds.