Ultrarunner Dave Mackey Becomes First Adaptive Athlete to Complete Leadville Race Series

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Want to start your day with a healthy dose of inspiration? Then look no further than endurance athlete Dave Mackey, who just became the first adaptive athlete to complete the Leadville Series of trail events. This past weekend, Mackey finished the Leadville Trail 100 ultramarathon, capping a very busy two month schedule that also saw him run or mountain bike in five other long-distance events. But perhaps most impressive of all, he did it just 20 months after having his left leg amputated.

By completing the entire race series, Mackey earned the title of the Leadman, which is given to any athlete who manages to complete the grueling six-event gauntlet. This year, there were 99 athletes who attempted the series, but only 44 finished –– including 38 men and 6 women. In addition to the Leadville Trail 100, those events include the Leadville Trail Marathon, the Silver Rush 50 Mountain Bike, the Silver Rush 50 Run, the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike, and the Leadville 10K Run.

Mackey is an experienced and talented ultrarunner who was North American Ultrarunner of the Year back in 2011. He also finished the Leadville series back in 2014, ranking second overall. But in 2016 he suffered a terrible accident while out on a trail run, severely injuring his leg. Doctors attempted several surgeries before eventually amputating it altogether. That would have been the end of most people’s running career, but Dave was determined to get back into form. Now, he has complete his journey by gaining Leadman status once again.

“It’s crazy to run 100 miles with a prosthetic leg,” said Mackey after finishing the final race this past weekend. “There’s so much more potential for problems beyond the regular ultrarunning problems: cramping, blown quads and sour stomach. Yet somehow, I was able to mitigate skin damage in my socket.”

Mackey isn’t done just yet either. He plans to race in the New York City Marathon in November and the JFK 50 Mile race a few weeks after that. 
Congrats to Dave on a job well done. You’re an inspiration to runners everywhere. 
Kraig Becker