Ty McCormack knows his experience next month in South Korea will be like an official transition from college running greatness to his work as a business professional.
After achieving elite status during his five-year career at Clemson, as an undergraduate, and Auburn, as a graduate student, the 2010 North Hall High graduate will run the 10,000 meter (6.2 miles) on July 9 at the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea.
This is one last experience as an amateur athlete for McCormack, before he balances life as a financial planner and explores professional-running opportunities.
McCormack, along with his family, leave Tuesday to travel to Asia for an 11-day trip, culminating with a visit to China after his race. While studying at Clemson University, McCormack, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, spent a semester in China as part of his requirements for his international business degree.
He said there would be nothing more satisfying than bringing home a medal in South Korea, despite battling the effects of exercise-induced asthma.
His breathing problems started after winning the 10,000 with a time of 29-minutes, 21.39 seconds at the famed Penn Relays on April 25.
McCormack is one of two runners invited by U.S. Track and Field to run the 10,000. All runners at the World University Games have to be attached, whether as undergraduates or graduate students, to a four-year American institution.
“I’m incredibly honored to be able to represent the U.S.,” said McCormack, who will move to Orlando, Fla. to start a new job on July 21. “I couldn’t have done any of this without the incredible support of my family.”
Even though the U.S. will only carry 550 athletes in 21 sports to the World University Games, McCormack is not the only North Hall graduate headed to South Korea. Paul Powers, who recently finished his freshman season at the University of Michigan, will also represent the U.S., swimming in the 50-yard freestyle and 50 backstroke.
Even though McCormack said he’s never met Powers, who graduated from North Hall in 2014, they’re making it a point to become acquainted at the housing where U.S. athletes will stay.
“The odds of two athletes coming from the same high school are pretty slim,” said McCormack, who was the 2014 South Region Cross Country Runner of the Year. “Especially since North Hall isn’t a big school or private school.”
McCormack has achieved a high level of success in both track and cross country. In addition to winning the Penn Relays this spring, he won at both home outdoor meets. He was just as strong in academics. In the past 12 months, McCormack secured a Master’s in Business Administration in December, then a Master’s degree of Finance in May.
Three times at Clemson during his undergraduate work, McCormack was named to the All-ACC Academic Team.
He’s landed a job as an associate financial planner with Cash & Associates of Orlando, Fla. On the side, he’ll work as an assistant coach for both track and cross country with nearby Winter Park High, as well as pursuing his own professional sponsorships.
With his success in the long distance races, the 6-foot-3 McCormack made the decision to transition to running half marathons and marathons exclusively as a pro.
His first goal is to finish his first half marathon in less than 65 minutes this fall at Philadelphia. Then in the full marathon, he’d like to run a time in Los Angeles good enough for the cut to the Olympic Trials.
McCormack said his future employer is supportive of his running dreams, making it possible to work from the road, when he’s out of town for a race in the future.
“It’s exciting to enter the next phase of my life, and really be selective with my race schedule,” said McCormack.
At the World University Games, the U.S. will bring teams for most major sports, including baseball, basketball, golf, rowing, tennis and volleyball, among others.
Past participants for the U.S. in the World University Games include Michael Johnson (track), Charles Barkley and Larry Bird (basketball), Michael Phelps (swimming) and Lisa Leslie (women’s basketball).
Since he’s traveling to South Korea for this elite experience, McCormack will miss out on the Peachtree Road Race on Saturday in Atlanta. For the past four years, he was the first runner from Georgia to cross the finish line of the 10K through the streets of Atlanta.
McCormack plans to resume running in the Peachtree Road Race next year.