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 2018).
She joined her local athletics club, the Hawkhill Harriers, at age 12 at the advice of her PE teacher Phil Kearns Coached by Harry Bennett, she soon discovered a talent for distance running and won her first UK titles at the age of 18. Following Bennett's death, McColgan self-coached in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986. From 1987 to 1989 McColgan was coached by John Anderson, including during the 1988 Olympics, after which she self-coached to the World 10000m title, and London, New York and Tokyo marathon wins. She then met Grete Waitz; who coached her from 1992 to her retirement in 1996.
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. 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 unified 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. In 2017, she completed the inaugural Stirling Scottish Marathon in 3:18:32.
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, competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the 3000 metres steeplechase  and won the Bronze medal in the 3000m at the 2017 European Indoor Athletics Championships . The couple separated in November 2010 and finalised their divorce in March 2013. On 18 January 2014, McColgan married John Nuttall, a coach who has worked as head of endurance coaching for British Athletics and the ASPIRE Academy, Qatar.
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 for services to sport in 1992 and inducted to the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
|1982||World Cross Country Championships||Rome, Italy||71st||4.7 km||16:03|
|1986||Commonwealth Games||Edinburgh, Scotland||1st||10,000 m||31:41.42|
|1987||World Cross Country Championships||Warsaw, Poland||2nd||5.1 km||16:48|
|1990||Commonwealth Games||Auckland, New Zealand||1st||10,000 m||32:23.56|
|Representing Great Britain|
|1986||European Championships||Stuttgart, West Germany||12th||3000 m||9:02.42|
|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|
|1991||World Cross Country Championships||Antwerp, Belgium||3rd||6.4 km||20:28|
|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||6.4 km||22:21|
|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||6.4 km||20:17|
|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|
|2010||New York City Marathon||New York, United States||129th||Marathon||3:10:54|
|2017||Stirling Scottish Marathon||Stirling, Scotland||16th||Marathon||3:18:32|
|Awards and achievements|
|BBC Sports Personality of the Year
|Women's 5,000 m Best Year Performance
|Zevenheuvelenloop Women's Winner (15 km)