IT was a breath of fresh air to read the recent post by Eilish McColgan, when she told the world about her disastrous run up to the Payton Jordan Invitational in California. Five days before the race, she picked up a shin injury and was advised not to compete, but decided she would give it a go regardless.

On the day of the race – in fact, during the warm-up – she took her period which, she said, makes her run “like a walrus”. McColgan eventually quit the race, but it is what happened after that which really resonates.

The steps she took following this disastrous event were: call her mum and have a little cry, buy a red velvet cake for her tea, and sit up to 5am in the morning “overthinking every day of her life for the past 28 years”.

One of the reasons I really liked this post was the message it sent out to other young women: you don’t have to always be perfect and sometimes fall by the wayside, but ultimately we pick ourselves up and, in Eilish’s case,

literally get back in the race.

In many instances, elite athlete role models can seem superhuman – like they’re always getting it right, like they don’t suffer from the monthly miseries of normal young women, and like they never binge on chocolate cake to cheer themselves up.

This doesn’t really resonate with many young women who may want to try sport for the first time.

I recall, prior to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, when we heard from several female athletes who told us consistently what they didn’t do. This list included never eating chips, not having time for fun with friends, or indeed going on holiday. While it is laudable to be focussed to this extent, it isn’t perhaps the right message to send out for young girls who are considering participating in sport for the first time, as they may feel that they have to give up too much.

Eilish has broken down this barrier by telling it like is it, through her honesty, and it resonated well with many people. We’re are all human and sometimes we all need just a little slice of cake.