States-bound Matthew Mackay says swapping Burnley for Boise can catapult his fledgling athletics journey to new transatlantic heights.

Middle distance ace Mackay, 19, has grown up in Rossendale but will this summer embark on an ambitious hop across the pond to Boise State University in Idaho.

The 5000m and 3000m star was due to start his four-year scholarship last year but after finishing his A-Levels at Alder Grange High School, opted to postpone his Kinesiology course because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mackay says that 12-month delay has intensified his hunger for the trip and studying in the States will be a massive boost to his ambitions.

Mackay, who has grown up competing for Rossendale Harriers, said: “The past year has just been me trying to get through lockdown after postponing my scholarship in America.

“Lockdown was just me on my own running without anyone else – but I managed to get through it.

Ealing Times: Mackay is supported by a partnership between Entain - owner of Ladbrokes and Coral - and SportsAidMackay is supported by a partnership between Entain - owner of Ladbrokes and Coral - and SportsAid

“The main reason I’d like to go out to the States is for the training purposes, the facilities, the races and the general opportunity.

“They’ve got great facilities over there and the fact that there’ll be lads who are much quicker than me will enhance my running a lot more.

“They’ve got some great coaches and physiotherapists and it’s mainly about the experience. I love travelling and going to new places so that’s what appealed to me.

“It was my choice to hold it off a year – although the experience would have been good, it wouldn’t have been the same.

“I want to go out there and make the most of the opportunity, so I wanted to hold off for a year when things are back to normal. Hopefully it will be as good as what I was hoping.

“The delay has definitely made me look forward to it more – the winter lockdown was really rough. I was going out for runs on my own and motivation was quite low.

“It wasn’t very fun, but the thought of going over to America, with the weather over there, has been a driving force to get me through winter and lockdown.”

Mackay’s athletics career is supported by an innovative partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and leading sports charity SportsAid.

The funding enables him access to training, travel and equipment and MacKay knows it will firmly come in handy when he makes the move to Idaho.

He’s spent the last year working in the kitchen at a Burnley Wetherspoons – The Boot Inn – and admits dealing with periods of furlough has been tough.

Entain and SportsAid’s cash injection came at the perfect time and relieved Mackay wants to do his backers proud.

Ealing Times: Mackay admits Entain and SportsAid's funding has been a lifesaverMackay admits Entain and SportsAid's funding has been a lifesaver

Mackay, who will part ways with parents Lisa and Jason when he moves to the States, added: “The funding has been amazing.

“Trainers and equipment aren’t cheap, so honestly, it’s helped me so much. The fact that I’ve got someone behind me and funding me through the lockdown means I’ve got to go out and make these companies proud that are putting their money into me.

“It’s helped me more than you can think, honestly. I’d like to say thank you to everyone at Entain for all the support – it’s been great, honestly.”

Jake Berry MP, Member of Parliament for Rossendale and Darwen - Mackay's constituency - said: “It’s fantastic to see that Matthew is getting support from Pitching In with Entain and SportsAid, in recognition for their achievements in athletics.

"We need to keep on supporting our young athletes, especially at this difficult time for everyone.

"British sporting success in the future is something that can bring us all together and I look forward to everyone in Rossendale & Darwen cheering Matthew on in the future.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit to find out more.