Eilish McColgan Withdraws from the 2023 London Marathon

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Fans were excited to see superstar UK runner Eilish McColgan make her marathon debut at the London Marathon on Sunday, April 22, 2023. 

McColgan recently set a new UK half marathon record at the 2023 Generali Berlin Half Marathon on April 2, 2023, where she ran 65:43, beating her previous best—and the previous UK half marathon record—of 66:26 by a whopping 43 seconds.

Eilish McColgan had announced that she was hoping to not only win but also to smash Paula Radcliff’s London Marathon record of 2:15:25, which still stands as one of the fastest marathon times ever run by a woman over 20 years later.

However, both McColgan and her fans will have to wait to see the 32-year-old Scottish runner take on the 26.2-mile distance.

Eilish McColgan has announced that she will not be making it to the starting line of the 2023 London Marathon, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 23, 2023.

According to McColgan’s Instagram post in which she shared the news that she was pulling out of the 2023 London Marathon, she cited both an injury and sponsorship issue as being unworkable roadblocks to running the event.

McColgan suffered an injury to her hamstring in the final kilometer of the Berlin Half Marathon.

At the time, she thought that this might just be a muscle cramp, but diagnostic imaging revealed that it was in fact a “5.5cm, grade 3 tear,” which is a much more serious injury.

With that said, McColgan’s recovery was going better than expected, and she was still thinking she would be good to race on by the London Marathon. 

According to McColgan, “Despite being told no running for 4 weeks, I got myself back running far sooner than the doctors expected and was feeling confident in my progress for London with a solid session and final long run under my belt in Font Romeu.”

However, her second “roadblock” then reared its head, in which McColgan was alerted that she would not be able to participate in the 2023 London Marathon due to a sponsorship clash with herself and the London Marathon’s sponsor. 

Eilish McColgan’s Instagram reflections note, “I do not doubt that the major marathon contracts will be updated in future years, (most likely once the bigger-named athletes are involved.) But it needs to change to give athletes the chance to be financially stable. And they certainly should not be restricted as to what races they can or cannot do, purely because of a logo on their chest!”

In what can only be seen as a chain of unfortunate incidents, the recovery from the hamstring injury coupled with the sponsorship issue culminated in lots of stress, and McColgan said she was pushing herself too hard.

This, in turn, caused a knee injury.

She classifies the current knee injury as “nothing serious,” though she has swelling and impingement under the kneecap, which she describes as being very painful. 

“I’m hopeful I’ll be able to use my fitness in another marathon,” McColgan says. “I’ve been in tough places before. It’s sport. It happens. But these past few weeks I’ve felt an overwhelming amount of pressure to try and keep everyone happy, and try to make everyone happy… I feel like life has swallowed me up and spat me out.”

Training for a marathon is stressful on the body and mind, and McColgan’s decision to withdraw from the London Marathon demonstrates maturity in the sport. 

Moreover, just because she has to delay her marathon debut does not mean she isn’t planning to make a splash when she does get to the starting line healthy for whatever marathon she attempts next.

“I know that making the right decision now will benefit me in the longer term. I know I’m ready to run a fast marathon, but we will have to wait a little longer for those stars to align,” says McColgan. “And when they do, I promise it will be worth the wait!”

We agree that it will be worth the wait and we wish Eilish McColgan a speedy and full recovery.

You can follow Eilish McColgan in her recovery and continued running adventures on Instagram.

To learn more about how to watch the 2023 London Marathon, check out the spectator’s guide here.

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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