In the first of our catch-ups with GB athlete Matt Mackay, we wanted to find out a bit more about what races he's been a part of and how he's managed to earn himself the title of GB Under 17 Mountain Running champion!
My name is Matthew Mackay, a 16 year old keen runner having represented both England and Great Britain in mountain running.
I have been running for a number of years now (at least 8, I think) at my local track Rossendale Harriers in Lancashire. It all started as a social thing for me, turn up, have a chat with my mates, go home, and look forward to next week. But as I started to do some of my local cross country and fell races, I realised, hang on, I’m not too bad at this. From that point on I started to put more effort into my training as results started to show winning the odd race here and there.
Skipping forward a few years of school, running, more school and more running e.t.c, I was finally getting some half decent results for myself winning the Red Rose Cross Country League (Lancashire’s annual series) twice in a row, once in the under 15’s and then in the under 17 age category. After this success, came even more success as I had surprised myself to qualify for the u18 world mountain running association, international youth cup in southern Italy representing England. The experience of running for my country in such an amazing place is one I’m surely not going to forget anytime soon. In this race, I managed to finish 9th helping the team to a bronze medal.
With the experience of running on an international level gained, I was looking forward to the next time I could represent my country which was a few months later at the junior home international mountain running British championships in Scotland. With all 5 countries ( England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) putting forward strong teams, I was starting to really look forward to the challenge and again the feeling of representing my country.
I luckily didn’t disappoint in this race winning by over 20 seconds making me the under 17 British and Irish mountain running champion along with contributing to the team gold.
A year later and I was back at the world mountain running, international youth cup, but in the north of Italy near Sondrio. Being at the top of the age group I knew I had a good chance of doing better than last years 9th place and team bronze. So with plenty of experience running at this race last year gained, I stayed focus throughout the race and managed to take the win by more than 24 seconds. I couldn’t quite believe it.
My most recent international race was the under 20 European mountain running championships in Skopje, Macedonia representing Great Britain. Although my race didn’t go as planned I was happy to come away with 9th in Europe, especially only being aged 16 racing 19 year olds and a team gold medal making us the European champions of 2018.
In September I will be running in my biggest race yet, the u20 world mountain running championships representing Great Britain in Andorra, a small country in between Spain and France. This race is uphill only with a distance of 7.4km and 576m of elevation with countries like Kenya, USA and Australia all competing. Even recovering from this race will be a challenge for me!
Thank you all very much for reading this small blog about me, and you can follow my progress on instagram: matt.mackay1
We've been blown away with Matt's progress and wish him all the best for the race in September and we'll be sure to catch up with him again to see how he's feeling nearer the time.