Liz McColgan

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Liz McColgan-Nuttall
Personal information
Birth name Elizabeth Lynch
Nationality  Scotland
Born (1964-05-24) 24 May 1964 (age 56)
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 McColgan-Nuttall MBE (née Lynch, 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 medallist over the distance at the Commonwealth Games, as well as winning the 1992 World Half Marathon Championships, 1991 New York City Marathon, 1992 Tokyo Marathon and 1996 London Marathon. Her 10,000 metres best of 30:57.07 set in 1991, made her only the third woman in history to run the distance in under 31 minutes. Both that time and her marathon best of 2:26:52 in 1997, still stand as Scottish records (as of 2014).

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 Kearns[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 in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986.[3]

Athletics career

At the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, as Liz Lynch, she 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] Earlier that year, she had won the NCAA National Championship in the mile run representing Alabama Crimson Tide in the American collegiate Indoor Track and Field national Championships. In 1987, she won a silver medal at the World Cross Country Championships in Warsaw representing Scotland (Great Britain would not send a single team to the World Cross until 1988). She finished just one second behind Annette Sergent of France, but ahead of Ingrid Kristiansen. In September, she improved the UK 10,000 m record to 31:19.82 in finishing fifth at the World Championships in Rome, in a race won by Kristiansen.

In 1988, now competing as Liz McColgan, she further improved her own UK record with 31:06.99 in July, to defeat Kristiansen in Oslo. Almost three months later, she ran 31:08.44 to win an Olympic silver medal in the inaugural women's 10,000 metres at the Seoul Olympics. She was defeated by the Soviet Union's Olga Bondarenko. McColgan won silver in the 3,000 metres at the World Indoor Championships in 1989. In January 1990, she became the only Scot to successfully defend 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 in the 3,000 metres.[2] She would then miss the rest of the 1990 season due to pregnancy, giving birth to her daughter (future Olympic athlete) Eilish in November.

McColgan made a quick return to the sport and won a bronze medal at the 1991 World Cross Country Championships. In June 1991, she ran her lifetime best for the 10,000 m with 30:57.07 in Hengelo, to move to second on the world all-time behind Ingrid Kristiansen, narrowly ahead of Olga Bondarenko. 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, breaking the record for a debut marathon by three minutes.[7]

In March 1992, McColgan struggled to a 41st-place finish at the World Cross Country Championships in Boston. Then in the summer, she finished fifth in the 10,000 m final at the Barcelona Olympics. In September, she won the inaugural World Half Marathon Championships, where she also helped the British team claim the silver medal in the team competition. Two months later, she won the Tokyo International Women's Marathon.

After more than two years struggling with injuries, McColgan finished fifth in the 1995 London Marathon and sixth in the 10,000 m final at the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg. In 1996, she won the London Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 54 seconds, before going on to finish 16th in the marathon at the Atlanta Olympics. She went on to finish second in the London Marathons of 1997 and 1998, running her career best time of 2:26:52 in 1997.

McColgan retired from competing in August 2001 when she fractured a bone in her foot while training for selection for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.[8] 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.[9] The couple separated in November 2010 and finalised their divorce in March 2013.[10][11] On 18 January 2014, McColgan was married to John Nuttall,[12] a coach who has worked as head of endurance coaching for British Athletics and the ASPIRE Academy, Qatar. McColgan-Nuttall has been recruited by the Qatar Athletics Federation to identify and develop endurance athletes ahead of the 2019 World Championships in Athletics.[13]


In December 1991, McColgan appeared on This Is Your Life and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.[14] She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to sport in 1992 and inducted to the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.[15]


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, England 3rd Marathon 2:29:37
1995 London Marathon London, England 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, England 1st Marathon 2:27:54
Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 16th Marathon 2:34:30
1997 London Marathon London, England 2nd Marathon 2:26:52
1998 London Marathon London, England 2nd Marathon 2:26:54
2007 London Marathon London, England 25th Marathon 2:50:38


  1. "Liz McColgan profile at". Sports Reference Olympic Sports. Retrieved 1 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Injuries force Scotland's most successful female athlete, Liz McColgan, into retirement Fracture is final straw for track queen". The Herald. 11 August 2001. Retrieved 1 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Liz McColgan interview". Run Britain. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Beattie, Geoffrey (16 December 1995). "McColgan's long run from factory to fame". The Independent. Retrieved 21 November 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Liz McColgan biography". United Kingdom Athletics. Retrieved 22 November 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Janofsky, Michael (31 August 1991). "TRACK AND FIELD; Super Decathlon Effort Is Just About a Footnote". New York Times. Retrieved 23 November 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. McG. Thomas Jr., Robert (4 November 1991). "NEW YORK CITY MARATHON; A Brash McColgan Wins With Bold Debut". New York Times. Retrieved 1 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Interview: Liz McColgan, athletics coach and former athlete". The Scotsman. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Fordyce, Tom (24 June 2012). "London 2012: Proctor and Bleasdale break records to qualify". BBC Sport.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Liz McColgan and husband Peter to divorce". The Courier. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Liz McColgan settles divorce with husband Peter". The Scotsman. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Athletics star Liz McColgan reveals her new-found happiness as she marries for the second time". Scottish Daily Record. 19 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Kessel, Anna (20 December 2014). "Liz McColgan-Nuttall is introducing girls in Qatar to the joys of running". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Sports Personality: Liz McColgan wins in 1991". BBC Sport. 22 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Liz McColgan, MBE". Scottish Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 1 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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
Succeeded by
East Germany Kathrin Weßel
Preceded by
Kenya Tegla Loroupe
Zevenheuvelenloop Women's Winner (15 km)
Succeeded by
Kenya Helen Kimaiyo

Template:Footer Commonwealth Champions 10000m Women