Dave Mackey


Boulder, CO / Mountains of CO




Half Marathon to 100 Miles

Dave Mackey has been a Colorado resident for 25 years, the vast majority of which were spent running and racing in Colorado, across the United States, and overseas. Some highlights include being selected as the 2011 North American Ultra Runner of the Year, two-time USATF Ultra Runner of the Year, and USATF National running titles at 50K, 50M, and 100K distances. He has completed the fabled “Leadman” race series three times and is shooting for his fourth in 2021, once again with a prosthetic leg. Dave has been a professional runner for almost 20 years. He was also a professional multi-sport adventure racer in the 2000s, being lucky enough to race multi-day adventure races on professional adventure racing teams on six continents. 

In May 2015, Dave dislodged a large rock while climbing off Bear Peak above Boulder, Colorado, somehow surviving a 60-foot fall. Unfortunately, the large rock fell onto his left leg, and subsequent complications over 18 months led to the choice to have his leg amputated below the knee.  He still runs, bikes, or skis just about every day. 

Otherwise, Dave is a regular married Dad with an 11-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl. Dave works his day job as a physician assistant, which he loves. He has been on the board of the American Trail Running Association (ATRA) for 20 years, as well as a Boulder-based climbing advocacy non-profit, and volunteers medical at trail running events and for the Band of Runners camp for veterans and gold start families. He also worked professionally as a rock-climbing guide for in the Boulder area and Rocky Mt National Park, as well as 12 years working as a guide and educator for programs such as Outward Bound and the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, teaching outdoor education to people with disabilities. 

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I still hold a few course records scattered around the country! 

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How fast do you think you could run a backwards mile?
Oh man... about 20 minutes!  
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What is one of your most memorable non-competition runs?

Falling off Bear Peak was kind of memorable. :)  

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Do you have any quirky running habits?

Waking up at 4 am to get a few hours in. 

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If you had to pick one race or event this year that you anticipate will be your most proud achievement or moment, which one would it be and why? Do you have a special connection?

Hands down, in 2021 is my fourth Leadman, third as an amputee. There are many things that can go wrong in this series, including monster bike wrecks and any of the regular 100 mile running hazards. Four out of four would be pretty special. 

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What is your favorite event to watch that you don’t participate in?

Volunteering at Devil's Thumb mile 50 of Western States, witnessing the whole train come through after a 1,500-foot climb in 100-degree heat. Then proceeding to the finish line at Placer High and those who barely made the cut off at Devil's Thumb actually finish.  



Eat a slice of pizza mid-race or drink a milkshake?


Run on an empty stomach or a full bladder? 


Do a beer mile or a milk mile?


Run in the freezing cold or the sweltering heat?

This is easy... freezing cold.

Be met at the finish line with your favorite beverage or favorite meal?


Come across a snake or a rat on your run?

Snakes all the time here in Bolda, CO. 

Run with a blister on your foot or a cramp in your side?

Cramp... Blisters stay, cramps leave.  

Give up core work or stretching and still stay injury-free?

I don’t do either anyway.

Run uphill in the first half of your run or the second?

First half, like most who go out too fast. I'm no Jeff Browning.