Athletics ace Matthew Mackay is gunning for glory and preparing in the perfect way possible – by learning from two former champions.

Middle distance runner Mackay, 18, was one of five young athletes to be hand-picked to take part in a special Zoom mentoring session with former Paralympic gold medallist Danny Crates and four-time Olympian Donna Fraser.

The in-depth, 90-minute session was set up by Entain and SportsAid – who financially support Mackay’s journey – with former training partners Fraser and Crates now forming a dynamic duo delivering expert advice.

All five athletes were given the chance to ask a range of questions covering topics such as setbacks, preparation and training and Mackay, who dialled into the session from his transatlantic scholarship at Idaho’s Boise State University, said: “Hearing stories from two successful former athletes in the same discipline as myself was hugely inspiring to me and my current training. 

“Having my own questions answered by Donna and Danny was really useful for me to see new perspectives on training, motivation and working towards my goals. 

“Danny and Donna shared some great tips that I have introduced into my own training, such as how they dealt with challenges like overcoming injuries that prevented their progress towards goals. 

“Danny’s story was truly inspirational – even with the incident that caused his disability, he still overcame the challenges that he had to face and went on to become as successful as he is today.  

“The fact that putting your mind towards something that you are passionate about shows anyone can go on to do anything, which is something which I aim to live by.”

Mackay’s athletics career is fuelled by Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid’s partnership that helps him access funding for training, travel and equipment.

Ealing Times: Mackay was one of five athletes to learn some pearls of wisdom from Crates and FraserMackay was one of five athletes to learn some pearls of wisdom from Crates and Fraser

And he was joined on the Zoom mentoring session by fellow aspiring athletes Ethan Rose, Heather Hughes, Craig Allen and Kirsty Taylor, who are also supported by Entain and SportsAid’s innovative partnership.

Mackay recently racked up personal best times in the 1500m and 3000m at Manchester’s Trafford Athletic Stadium before swapping Burnley for Boise on an ambitious US scholarship.

He revelled in absorbing Crates and Fraser’s eminent insight and Crates, who soared to 800m Paralympic glory at Athens 2004, said: "Your whole careers are in front of you and your eyes are wide open to the potential of your futures.

Ealing Times: Mackay was particularly influenced by Danny Crates who survived a car crash before going on to win Paralympic goldMackay was particularly influenced by Danny Crates who survived a car crash before going on to win Paralympic gold

“You don't know what's coming yet or what’s out there for you - you just know what you want, and I just love that."

Former sprinter Fraser, who competed at four Olympic Games and bagged a pair of World Championship bronze medals, added: "It's always a pleasure to share our journey and learnings with the next generation of talent.
“Hopefully all the athletes who joined the call found that fruitful.

"I'm really all for supporting the next generation, encouraging them not to make the same mistakes that I made and supporting them on their journey.

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