Eilish McColgan has been named as the official honorary starter of the 2022 Great North Run. The 31-year-old Scot has had an extraordinary year that saw her set a new British record over 5km on the roads and beat Paula Radcliffe’s 21-year-old British half marathon record. She took the longstanding European and UK 10km record at the Great Manchester Run and won Commonwealth Gold and Silver in Birmingham.
Eilish continued her outstanding season securing two additional medals at the European Championships in Munich, with a silver in the 10,000 metres and bronze for the 5000. She is now the first British distance runner to compete in six championship outdoor finals in the same season.
Sir Brendan Foster, founder of the Great North Run said, “It’s a real honour to welcome Eilish to the start line on Sunday after an incredibly successful year of competition.
“She has been an amazing ambassador for our sport and continues to inspire people around the country on and off the track. I’m sure our runners will be delighted to have the opportunity to congratulate her in person.
“Her commitment to supporting young athletes through the establishment of her non-profit, Giving Back to the Track, is truly commendable and demonstrates her dedication to ensuring fair and equal opportunities for everyone to have the chance to get involved in athletics.”
As the event looks toward its next decade, this year the Great North Run will celebrate the stories of some of its youngest runners. Eilish is a former competitor in the Junior Great North Run and to celebrate those who might follow in her footsteps, the winners of the Junior Boys and Girls races will be offered the opportunity to stand alongside her on the starters’ platform. They will set 60,000 runners on their way across the start line at the 41st Great North Run, the UK’s biggest running event.
Eilish said, “I loved competing in the Junior Great North Run as kid, the atmosphere and big race experience is such an exciting thing to experience at that age. I can’t wait to meet the winners of the Junior race and share this incredible experience with them.
“The Great North Run is an iconic event and it’s a true honour to be able to set all these inspiring runners on their way. I absolutely loved taking part last year, so I’m thrilled to be able to play a part in the day and celebrate what has been an incredible season for me.”
The Great North Run is the UKs biggest running event. It will be televised live on BBC One from 10-12:10 and from 12:10 – 14:00 on BBC 2. A highlights programme will be shown on BBC 2 from 17:00 – 18:00.