Back to News

By George Hodgson

Shetland Island’s Seumas Mackay was ‘buzzing’ to seal consecutive Island Games’ gold medals in the men’s 800m athletics.

Mackay, who broke the Shetland record at the 2017 Island Games (1.53.32), topped that again this year, clocking in a time of 1:53.18 – a full two seconds ahead of runner-up David Mullarkey, from the Isle of Man.

It was Shetland’s track athlete who finished fastest in his heat on Sunday and he backed it up with a devastating performance in the final to retain his crown.

To add the icing on the cake, it was the first gold medal for Shetland, on the third day of competition in Gibraltar.


Seumas Mackay holds the flag of the Shetland Islands aloft after winning gold (Credit: Ryan Smart)

At just 18-years-old, it was astounding to see how far he had pulled away after the first 400m and Mackay himself admitted he was pretty surprised when he looked over his shoulder.

“I aim to go out hard on the first lap,” he said. “I try and take the wind on so that I’m in front, but I didn’t realise I was that quick.



“I looked at the clock and it said 54 and I thought: ‘Oh no, have I gone too hard too soon?’

“Thankfully I managed to hold it together.”

After a convincing run on Sunday, the Dunrossness runner came into the race hungry for a medal at the very minimum.

“I knew I had more to give,” he assured. “But, I didn’t know how much more and the other heats were fast, so I knew they’d be strong.

“I wasn’t coming into it expecting to win but I wanted at least a medal – I would’ve been disappointed if I didn’t pull it off so I’m just really happy to have done.”

Following his success, Mackay embraced a hug with his coach on the sideline before walking over to the stand, where he was greeted by a joyous Shetland contingent.

“The support is just unreal from the Shetland Islands,” he said. “You can hear them and they’re just deafening really.

“There’s so many people there, not just Shetland but other Scottish islands and it helps so much.

“My family being here too and just knowing there’s people backing you gives you such a boost.”

Next up for Mackay is the 400m men’s heat, where he will be hoping to progress to Thursday’s final.