By Will Castle
Henry McLuckie wants to emulate close friend Ben Pattison and propel himself onto the podium on the international stage.
After claiming bronze at the European Under-20 Championships last year, the past 12 months have proved historic for the Isle of Wight middle-distance runner, first breaking the four-minute mile at the prestigious Emsley Carr Mile in May before repeating the feat twice more with two top runs.
While the 20-year-old did miss out on selection for the Commonwealth Games, McLuckie has enjoyed watching some of his cohorts thrive on the big stage.
McLuckie’s friend Pattison, 20, bagged a brilliant bronze in Birmingham and the island star is now determined to follow in his footsteps.
— Pitching In (@PitchingIn_) June 25, 2022
“I watched most of the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“I’ve got a few friends who have been racing, a few of the guys on the circuit so it’s good to see.
“One of my closest friends, Ben Pattison, won bronze in the 800m.
“This year hasn’t gone the way I’d have hoped it would have gone,.
“However, I was still running PBs, and I was thinking perhaps I could’ve made that next jump.
“I see guys like Ben [Pattison] and they’re on that next level now, so I’m hoping that’s going to motivate me more to be on that level next year.
“I do want to make senior teams in the coming year, that’s the big goal of mine.”
McLuckie is among a select group of Britain’s most promising young athletes to be sponsored by Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and their flagship grassroots sports investment programme called Pitching In.
And he was keen to express how beneficial the funding has been to his development as an athlete, allowing him to grasp opportunities he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of.
— Pitching In (@PitchingIn_) August 18, 2022
On the support that surrounds him, McLuckie said: “That’s such a big thing nowadays.
“It’s not just me running, you’ve got to have that team and that background that are able to support you and guide you in the right direction.
“I’ve got my family, my coach, my training partners, my girlfriend, my agent, my sponsors; without them none of it would be possible."
He added: “The support of SportAid and Entain has helped me get in the right position that can set me up for a big career.
“The support I get from them has only benefitted me as an athlete, whether that be getting in bigger races in Europe, or training abroad, or going to altitude.
“Without the funding, none of that would be possible.”
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 entaingroup.com to find out more