I am happy to have Michael MacDonald as my friend and instead of seeing him at tomorrow morning’s track practice, he will be running over 1,200 miles from Safety Harbor. Michael and Jenni, his lovely wife, moved to Connecticut last week and their family of friends from Florida will certainly miss them. In addition to being a great person and role model, he is one of the fastest runners in Tampa Bay…well, the country…one bad ass guy and runner.
Michael and I met in 2015 as we ran in the running and multi-sport group called, RunVie. Michael, who was an elite runner when I met him began coaching with the group and continued to lead the way on the track, road, or whatever surface it was on.
Michael is one of the most humble men you will meet. Over the seven years I’ve known him, many times you didn’t know when he was going to race and may not find out he did unless you asked him if he had raced over the weekend. When you asked him how he did he would usually say, “Ok, could have done better…” or something close to that. When you pressed him for details you would find out he usually won the race with a blazing fast pace. Always in pursuit of getting faster…
I’m quite a bit older than Michael but he has graced me to run with him on a few long runs and adventures over the years and there is one run that sticks out above all others. Michael, Anthony Douailhy, Elia Luti and myself went for a trail run one morning a few years back. All you have to say is, “THE Croom run,” or “THE run” and we all know what it means. On this day we set out to run a 16 mile loop with Michael and Anthony leading the run and Elia and I along for the ride in terms of navigating. Elia and I did zero preparation on where this journey was supposed to take us…we trusted the boys…ha!
We had a great run and I was happy I was able to hang with these fast guys. I brought one gel thinking it would be enough to fuel me for 16 miles running at the pace we were going. As we approached mile 16 Michael and Anthony picked up the chatter on where we were and then questioning it. Before we knew it we realized we were way off. I turned my phone on and looked at the GPS. It showed we were nine miles away from where we parked. That wasn’t a problem for us as we had trained high volume except for the fact that I was now out of gas with no gels remaining and shortly after we began to run again, I bonked. Sometime shortly after that I had to walk while Anthony hung with me and Elia and Michael ran back to the car and returned a few miles down the road. Lesson learned to bring more than what you think you need… Michael got us lost but he got us outta there…although was it Anthony’s fault? Was it Elia and my fault for not doing any preparation? Ha!!! Thank you Michael and Elia for getting that car!
We immediately knew it was a life memory moment and reflected on the mishap the entire way home while having great laughs. We were nine miles off of a 16 mile loop…wow! For Christmas that year I had signs made for each commemorating the day with them reading, “Trail Explorers – getting lost is the fun part.” We look back at that run with smiles like it was yesterday… These three gentlemen have a special spot in my heart and it was official on that day.
But back to Michael, through the years he has won so many races, set insane personal records, qualified and ran in the Boston Marathon (2:33!!! geez!!!) and led countless training sessions always willing to help everyone get better. I loved each time to pick Michael’s brain about something running. He knows his stuff from studying it and experiencing it in a most grand way. Michael is a leader and inspired people in different ways. I am proud to call him a friend.
We can’t wait to have him back on vacations to run with us and ahead of the pack of course…
Thank you Michael for all the great memories!
– Add Health to Your Life