Author Travis Macy visits The Bookworm to discuss new book
- What: 'A Mile at a Time' with Travis Macy
- When: Thursday, May 11 at 6 p.m. MST
- Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., unit C101 Edwards, CO 81632
- Cost: $10
- More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit BookwormofEdwards.com
Alzheimer’s disease affects over six million Americans today, even lifelong athletes. When ultra-endurance athlete Mark “Mace” Macy received his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2018, he decided to enter the World’s Toughest Race Eco-Challenge Fiji with his son anyway, and the two wrote an inspirational book about their experience.
Thursday at The Bookworm of Edwards, author Travis Macy will share the incredible true story of he and his father’s journey hiking, climbing, biking, and paddling the 400-mile Eco-Challenge race over seven days, which shows the truth of living, and thriving, with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Ultra-endurance sports have always been a part of the Macys’ lives. “Dad did eight Eco-Challenges between 1995 and 2002, which were formative years for me as a teenager,” Travis Macy said. “Dad would record the races on VHS and I would watch them in our basement while I lifted weights. After I finished college in 2005, I got into adventure racing, and did many similar multi-day races all around the world, but never the Eco-Challenge.”
In 2018, Travis got the chance to finally do the Eco-Challenge, like his father did for many years before. “When the word came out that the Eco-Challenge was coming back in 2018, we were very excited,” Macy said. “The original plan was that dad would race with his old buddies, all over 60, and then I would race with a competitive team. But then as the Alzheimer’s diagnosis came about, and the race got closer, I realized that it was far more important for me to do something with my dad that would be a big event for both of us. We didn’t know what was going to happen, but we knew that we wanted to be in it together.”
Receiving his Alzheimer’s diagnosis surprised Mace, but it never stopped him from living his life on his own terms.
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Although he kept his determined stubbornness in the face of his diagnosis, dealing with Alzheimer’s is not easy for the diagnosed individual nor for their family. “You expect at some point in your life that the roles are going to shift between parents and their adult children, and for us that happened pretty early,” Macy said. “Dad was 64 when he was diagnosed and it was a lot for us to grapple with. I realized I needed to grow up in a whole new way. And dad had to become more comfortable accepting help, which is hard to do, especially for a lot of us guys.”
It seems that the decades of ultra-marathon experience between this father-son duo helped them with Mace’s Alzheimer’s and relearn their relationship with each other. “These endurance sports are long, challenging events with uncertain outcomes,” Macy said. “Sometimes things go well, but very often things don’t go as you’ve expected. You’re very exposed, whether it’s on tv, or you’re racing in front of people, or even to yourself, it breaks you down to a very raw place. And that’s a good thing to do. When we can put ourselves through challenging things that have uncertain outcomes, we get more used to those challenges.”
In reading “A Mile at a Time,” you can be inspired by the challenges that they faced and the lessons they learned. “I hope people read this book and find something relevant to them,” Macy said. “Maybe it inspires people to be active, get outside, or do something challenging. But even more so, I hope they get the deeper message to focus on the relationships in their lives that are really important. To hang together through adversity, especially through the uncertain and the uncontrollable, and keep doing their best day after day.”