It would be hard to find anyone in the world of triathlon who didn’t know the name Macca and the skill and titles that go with it. What I didn’t find was anything deeper than that. Who are those who were most influential in shaping this athlete’s outlook on life?
Entering Macca:Unplugged, I was immersed in a setting saturated with Hammerheads. Not as frightening as it sounds; Team Hammerhead is the name of South Florida’s Triathlete Club, which has been around for 11 years. Macca was in town for the 2010 Nautica South Beach race. He spoke at Macca:Unplugged and hosted Spin with Macca at Pinecrest Fitness the following day.
A tight-knit support group of family and friends is imperative in Chris McCormack’s world. He and his best friend, Sean, have traveled the world together. How does Sean continue to have influence after all these years? “We grew up watching Ironman and fantasizing about competing,” McCormack says.
They promised one another that they would race together, drafting a racing to-do list. Like a movie, they ended up accomplishing it, too, all but the final race.
“After racing in the qualifiers,” Macca says, “with much tribulation, we qualified for the Hawaii Ironman. Sean was out celebrating and was killed in a car accident.”
Never one to give up on a dream, Macca dedicated his 2007 Kona win to Sean, acknowledging him before crossing the finish line, raising his arms skyward and mouthing, “We did it!” He did this in part because after losing four times he felt as though Sean still had something to say. “I felt Sean was looking down, somehow keeping me from winning in Hawaii, telling me, ‘You’re not ready, you’re not ready!’ Sean was right.”
For, Macca mentions, only by making it through such deficits, can you realize the gravity of what you have accomplished. “One is so much more appreciative of the win after all the losses,” he says.
Another strong influence was his mother. What has she instilled in Chris that has helped him throughout life?
“Being Maori and living in Australia, she was always different,” he says. “She taught me that being different is good and that conforming isn’t necessary for success. She gave me courage and told me to chase my dreams. She allowed me to be brave enough to become the athlete that I am. I believe this kind of thinking is crucial, especially today where there is not enough focus on individuality.”
His to-do list vanquished, will he start another one? Macca chuckles and ponders the question.
“I think when that day comes it’s my time to sit back and enjoy the journey,” he says. “Life is too short for lists. Life shouldn’t be driven by money and material possessions. That’s happened for me. I just want to be happy and, honestly, I think I will be.”
Although I only met him for a moment, I agree, I think he will be happy. And he deserves it.