2011 Comeback Award – Richard “Mac” McCrady

Presented by Harold Tinsley


The Comeback award has only been presented five times prior to this year.  Past recipients of this award are:


            1986 - Wendy Skinner

            1993 - Mark Dummer

            1996 - Carl Nicholson

            2001 - David Purinton

            2005 - Grady Edwards


            As you can tell this award doesn't get around very often.  I'm also sure members aren't sitting around contemplating how to win this award.  There are three prerequisites for receiving this award.  The second prerequisite is why no one would seriously seek this award. 


            The first perquisite is that you must have been somewhere to "comeback" from.  In our case it is running.


            Second you must have lost the capability to run for some period.  Wendy lost hers when she was run over by a car, Mark's was the result of a comeback to finish the Double Ironman after an initial failure due to illness near the end, Carl’s was as a result of a heart attack, David’s was a broken foot that wouldn’t heal requiring an operation and long recovery, and Grady fell from a ladder helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity resulting in fractures and a host of other bodily damage.  I think we can all agree that those aren't something we are going to sit around and contemplate - at least not seriously. 


            Now if you have achieved the second prerequisite, who would wish that on anybody, much less themselves, then you may very well contemplate the third prerequisite. 


            The third prerequisite is the "comeback" – for the injured runner that is the all is well in the world again prerequisite.


            Our spouses can attest to how irritable and grouchy we runners get when injured.  Then there comes that point during a major injury where you want to dismiss running and everything to do with it - and the club just lost another member.  After dropping their membership most just seem to disappear.  The number of members in the club we lose every year due to injury is a "significant" number, but the number of those that return to their previous level of running is an "insignificant" number.  I’m sure some of those go unknown to the HTC Board which selects the recipient of this award.


            The recipient of the Comeback Award tonight is Richard “Mac” McCrady.  Mac will be 80 the end of this month.  He joined the HTC in 1988. 


            As for prerequisite number one, well that was detailed in the newsletter article “McCrady Living Life to the Fullest through Running” published in the January/February, 2011, issue #195.  As that article noted, Mac has a unique running background.


            I will briefly note that Mac didn’t begin his racing career until age 50 in 1982 in Dothan, Alabama.  It didn’t take long before he was running sub-40 minute 10Ks and sub-19 minute 5Ks.  He improved so fast that he was presented the Runner of the Year trophy by the Dothan Runners Club the following year.


            In 1986 Mac McCrady moved to Las Cruces, NM, to teach at New Mexico State University where he began running trail races, most at high altitude and winning his age group in most. 


            At age 65 he was introduced to the Colorado fourteeners, that’s 14,000-foot mountains of which there are 54 in Colorado.  He managed to summit 33 of the 54 and did several of them numerous times for a total of over 100 ascents. 


            Mac has entered Senior Olympic Games in five different states doing both running and cycling events at those games and set a number of age division records. 


            Currently Mac Holds 35 Alabama State Records.  He has now participated in more than 500 running and cycling races.  I believe that would qualify Mac for prerequisite number one.


            Prerequisite number two occurred January 6 when Mac hit a slick spot while cycling on the Big Cove Creek Greenway and his bike slipped from under him and he went down fracturing his left hip.  This is Mac’s description of what happened after that.


            “I was rescued and rushed to ER at a local hospital. An x-ray revealed an intertro-chanteric fracture.  I had surgery the next day and was released from the hospital two days later.  The surgery consisted of inserting a 16" titanium rod into my femur.  The rod was anchored at the base with a screw through the thigh bone, and a compression screw passed through the upper part of the rod into the neck and ball of the femur.  I did not accept the home care or physical therapy that was offered.  I did my own rehabbing.  I progressed from a walker, to a cane, to walking without assistance in about three weeks.  Then, my rehabbing consisted of walking on the road; stationary, recumbent bike workouts; and walking and jogging on a treadmill.  Within about five weeks after surgery I began cycling with very little difficulty; the major problem was mounting and dismounting the bike.  About two months after surgery, I began outdoor jogging and progressed to running.  This was the task I found most difficult.  However, about three months after surgery, I was back to running at a fairly good pace.  I entered my first, post-surgery, race, the Cookie Dash 5K, which I did in 30:56, on April 23, about three and a half months after surgery.”


            Since then Mac has run eight 5K races, an 8K, a 10K, a duathlon and participated in the Georgia Golden Olympics where he did the 5K and 10K bike time trials; ran the 800 and 1500 meters on the  track; and ran the 5K road race, winning 5 gold medals.  And by the way, that 8K run back on May 6 was run in 48:08, an age 79 Alabama state record.  His best 5K time since the accident is 27:46 which is only 61 seconds off the state age 79 record.  However, that time is 1 minute, 39 seconds faster than the state age 80 record.  Watch out age 80 record holders, here he comes.


            Mac McCrady, with that the HTC Board considers you have met prerequisite number three, and to tonight we honor your recovery with the HTC Comeback Award.  Congratulations, and I hope we don’t have to give you this award a second time!!