ON the day when other social media platforms went on the fritz, Eilish McColgan found herself thinking about friends reunited.

The Dundee athlete is one of six athletes to have been preselected for next summer’s Commonwealth Games – Laura Muir, Jemma Reekie, Andy Butchart, Josh Kerr and Jake Wightman are the others - a move that further underlines the current strength of Scottish middle-distance running.

There is something about competing under the Scotland banner that continues to hold huge appeal in a way that, McColgan confirms, isn’t the same for many English athletes, including her partner Michael Rimmer.

McColgan is 30 years old now and goes way back with many of those also confirmed for Birmingham next summer, and those likely to be selected in the coming months.

“It’s funny as it’s a lot of people that I grew up with,” she says. “Callum [Hawkins] is a bit younger than me but I grew up racing Derek and their other brother Scott. So it’s quite a close-knit running community.

“We all know each other really well. That’s what makes being part of Team Scotland unique and a little bit different.

“We travelled the length and breadth of Scotland as kids, doing cross-countries and going into national junior leagues and all of those competitions. So it’s really cool that we’re all now making the senior team. We’re still here, still running fast and the standard keeps improving.

“We’ve got a lot of the same people who’ve been around for a long while like Laura Muir and Callum, and now you’ve got someone like Jemma Reekie also coming through to that next level.

“We’re looking at Josh Kerr and Laura at the Olympics and Jemma on the brink of a medal too. To have that Olympic level is pretty special for such a small nation.

“Plus there’s a conveyor belt of people underneath that in the youth teams who will go on to make the senior teams as well. It’s exciting.

“I’m pre-selected for the 10k and I’ll wait to see what shape I’m in before deciding on the 5k. 

“I’m definitely going to the Commonwealth Games looking for a medal. If they both look like medal prospects, there’s no reason I won’t be able to give both a go. They’re both straight finals, quite spaced out. So why not?”

Since her ninth place finish in the Olympic 10,000m final, McColgan has stepped things up again as she gradually evolves into a marathon runner, placing third recently on the British all-time list for the half-marathon.

Her most recent outing was as a pacer in Sunday’s London Marathon, something she admits brought more pressure than simply racing for herself.

“I was more nervous about pace making than I was about any race this year,” she adds. “If you get it wrong, you ruin that person’s whole race – and a marathon runner might only get to do one or two a year. 

“You don’t want to be the person who ruins it for them, so I was so nervous. Last year I was bang on pace, this year I was a second faster than I’d been asked to run. I’m pretty proud of that, running 13.1 miles within a specific time requested.”

The Commonwealth Games fall slap bang in the middle of a trio of major events that starts with the world championships and concludes with the Europeans.

But McColgan reckons she should be able to compete at all three should she choose to do so.

“I just know that, for us in Scotland, the Commonwealth Games is important, special and unique,” she says.

“I feel like it’s only the Scottish athletes who feel that, as well. For English athletes, the priority will be the Worlds and Europeans. But for us the Commonwealths are something we all want to do. 

“I’m fortunate in doing the 5k and 10k, so I could do a mixture across all three competitions. There will be a straight final for the European Championships and Commonwealth games. 

“So it’s no different from me going to a Diamond League in Paris and then Zurich.”

Much as she is passionate about athletics, McColgan is already eying up a break once her final race of the year – Great South Run – is taken care of in a few weeks' time.

“I can’t wait to get away, just to switch my phone off and not have a lot going on. It’s been really hectic this year. I’m not sure where we’re going yet, it will just be a week of taking it easy, ideally somewhere with sunshine and no Covid restrictions. We’ll just wait to see where the government says we can go!

“I just want to be able to top up my tan. I feel I’m getting very ghostly white, very Scottish pale. So a beach would be nice.”