Thanks Mac

Runners often take their health for granted, or at least this runner does. But every now and then I get a reminder how fortunate I am to lace ’em up any time of day and go for an hour run. I was reminded Friday night.

Mac 1953-2012

My buddy Ed called and told me we’d just lost one of our lifelong friends. Mac was found dead, alone in his apartment at fifty-eight years young. The time of death was undetermined; nobody had spoken to him since the previous weekend. Shock and sadness were followed by smiles and appreciation for growing up with one colorful character. Mac never caught a break in life, but he played the hand he was dealt admirably, treated people respectfully and never hurt a soul. If Mac were a marathoner, he would have finished every race among the top of the field.

I wondered if Mac had passed while I was at Grown-up and Me night at my grandson’s school on Wednesday. Or perhaps I was at the library or writing when he was gasping for his last breath. I took a twelve-mile run the afternoon I got the news; could I have been at mile eight when his heart stopped? It really doesn’t matter. What matters is to be thankful every moment of every day for our health. Thanks for the reminder Mac; I just wish you had found a different way to teach me a lesson.

Ben Comen, the most courageous distance runner to ever lace up a pair of running shoes.

This afternoon I bumped into an older gentleman named Bob I often see at the lake where I run. Bob suffered an apparent stroke sometime before I became friendly with him. He struggles to get out of his pick-up truck, and then labors as far as his crippled body will take him before he turns around to complete an out-and-back. I did a lap around the lake and caught up with him as he was returning from his short walk. Bob probably exerted ten times the effort that I did during my six-mile loop. He reminds me of Ben Comen. Bob, Ben and Mac are my heroes.

So, all you runners take a moment today to be thankful for your health. Offer your next run up for Mac. And make it a good one.

Thanks Mac!

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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