Stephen Mackay hopes a strong 1,500m performance in this weekend’s British Milers Club grand prix meeting at Trafford will put him in the frame for a first Scotland call-up.
The Inverness Harriers club member, who reached two British championship finals in 2020, finishing fifth indoors and 10th outdoors, has an impressive best time of 3min 45.84secs.
But Scotland’s world-class depth in the 1,500m is so great that it has been difficult for him to force his way into the reckoning for a national vest in recent years.
However, performances this weekend will determine who will represent Scotland in the Loughborough international on May 23.
Because the country’s top guns – such as Jake Wightman, Josh Kerr, Chris O’Hare and Neil Gourlay – are thought not to be chasing selection, then the door may yet open for Mackay.
He said: “I’ve never been picked before so this definitely gives me an added incentive to run well. I’m keen to do the Loughborough match.
“My training has been a bit up and down but I’m quietly confident I’m in decent shape.
“But it’s difficult to really tell because of the lack of racing. Last season was condensed into six weeks and this year I haven’t had any races other than a pacing job at an indoor meeting in January.
“I’ve been trying to get the race effect in some of my training sessions but we’ll only find out on Saturday. It’s going to be a good quality field, so it’ll be a good test.”
Mackay’s preparations for the opening to the season haven’t been helped by the unexpected closure of the Inverness track at Queen’s Park, although the situation appears to have been resolved.
The facility was to have been shut from April 26 until May 12 to accommodate a number of marquees required for the Scottish Government election count.
Mackay even made a 200-mile round trip to Aberdeen to use the track there, but is now happy a solution has been found.
He said: “It wasn’t ideal and I’ve spent a lot of time and energy over the past 10 days trying to get something sorted out. But credit to Highland Council as they have been good in finding a way of letting us have some access to the track.
“I just don’t understand why it was necessary to use a sports facility for the election count in the first place.”
After this weekend’s match Mackay will travel to Birmingham for an 800m race on Wednesday.
He said: “I’d also like to have done a couple of races in Europe in June but it’s still difficult to plan for going abroad at the moment.
“I still have a few other British Milers Club meetings arranged then, at the end of June, I hope to do the British championships and Olympic trials at Manchester.”