I’m completely guilty of watching Eilish McColgan crossing the finish line, arms raised in jubilation. I think to myself, ‘gosh, how lucky is she?’. And yes, she is lucky, she’s a fantastic runner. Currently uninjured and one of the few reaping the benefits of their hard work.
However, NOTHING, and I really mean NOTHING, can escape the fact that she’s put in hours of hard work day in day out to be where she is now. The number of paid athletes out there is minute, even when you’re talking about podium finishers. Yes, they may get some kit, but the free kit doesn’t pay the heating bills or the mortgage.
At the end of February on Instagram, Eilish posted her month in numbers: 558km run, 11hrs on the ElliptiGO, 9 track sessions, and 10 gym sessions. Even this doesn’t really give a true picture of the level of sacrifice she goes through on a daily basis.
So how do the pros do it, and ultimately, what can us ordinary people do to gather even a small amount of that motivation?
Last summer we were lucky enough to have HOKA ONE ONE athlete and ultra-trail runner, Hayden Hawks, join us on the first day of our Tour du Mont Blanc. Spending time with him was not just inspirational in terms of his skills and techniques, but also his attitude. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who came across as more grateful that he could run.
Yes, winning is great, and being a paid athlete is great, but the simple act of having the physical ability to put one foot in front of the other is something he didn’t take for granted in the slightest. He even talked about the inspiration he draws from spending time with other runners who're not completing marathons in just over 2 hours like he can, but from those that are out there for over 5 hours. He was in awe of those who find running challenging but get out and do it anyway.