Mark (Mace) Macy has already run across deserts and in blizzards, competing against the toughest endurance athletes in the world. So, now he’s planning a run around the world – or at least the equivalent distance – with the help of a few friends.
Mace isn’t your typical 67-year-old former trial attorney. The Evergreen, Colorado, resident has been an ultra-endurance athlete since 1986. He’s competed in the World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji. It’s not unusual for him to run 100 miles on snowshoes or 146 miles in the desert.
But the reward for racing now isn’t a pile of cash or a trophy. It’s raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease – a challenge he’s been facing since his own diagnosis in 2018.
“I try not to think about it all the time,” Mace said recently. “What I’ve got to do is just go and don’t quit. There are certain things in everybody’s life they’ve got to do, and I’ve got Alzheimer’s. My life may not be what I want it to be. There are hard times, but I’m not quitting.”
Running around the world
Alzheimer’s disease is nothing to be scoffed at, and Mace is attacking it in his own fashion. A man who loves testing himself against nature and the elements, he decided to help raise awareness of the disease in the Alzheimer’s Association Longest Day event by challenging people to match him as he runs, walks, hikes or bikes for distance. Even though he’s not in a competition, Mace is tracking the distance he runs daily in the Rocky Mountain foothills around Evergreen on the Strava app. Since the start of 2021, his team has already exceeded his initial cross-country-equivalent goal of 3,063.2 miles – a virtual run from San Francisco to New York.
“Now, I’m going for the around-the-world trip,” says Mace. His target: roughly 24,901 miles or the distance around the equator.
No one’s betting against Mace and his support team finishing the journey.
Team Macy Endure
Mace isn’t alone in this challenge. Wife Pam has been his partner and biggest supporter for 43 years. And son Travis is his training partner and teammate on some of his athletic adventures, including the grueling World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji.
“Dad isn’t one to back down from a challenge,” said Travis. “I would not expect him to approach Alzheimer’s any differently.”
Marshall Ulrich – teammates forever
The endurance racing community is a tight-knit one, and one member of that community, Marshall Ulrich, is undertaking his own endurance challenge to help raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association on behalf of his “friend and racing companion – and always and forever Stray Dog – Mark Macy.”
Ulrich and Mace competed together on their team, Stray Dogs, on every Eco Challenge since it started in the early 90s. When Mace was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he formed Team Endure with Travis but, as Ulrich notes about the Fiji event, “us Stray Dogs kept a close eye on him throughout.”
To support his good friend, Mace, Ulrich created his own Longest Day event – the first ever winter crossing from Badwater (in Death Valley) to the summit of Mt. Whitney (a 135-mile trek that includes more than 33,000 feet in elevation gain and nearly 21,000 in elevation loss) – with a goal of raising $14,508 ($1 for every foot of Mt. Whitney elevation) for Alzheimer’s research in Macy’s name. At this writing, he’s already more than 96% of the way to his financial goal.
“I bet all of you know someone who is struggling with Alzheimer's,” said Ulrich. “I hope you find it in your heart to help with the cause, even if it's just a dollar or two. Having your support will make my winter Badwater crossing worth the effort; not just for me, but for…Mace and his family, and all of those affected by Alzheimer's.”
To learn more about Team Macy Endure and their $30,000 fundraising goal, click here
To learn more about Alzheimer’s Association programs and services, which are provided at no cost to families, call the free 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900, or go to alz.org/co
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.