Ty McCormack’s experience Sunday in the Chicago Marathon was just as much about mental fortitude as it was running at a blazing fast pace.
When his stomach started to act up before the middle of the 26.2-mile run through the Windy City, he knew it was time to buckle down and put mind over matter.
“I wasn’t feeling my best, so to know that I finished in the top 50 at a World Major gave me a lot of peace,” said McCormack, a North Hall High graduate, who crossed the line at 2 hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds.
Now a financial planner who resides in Orlando, Fla., the semi-professional runner had an average pace of a 5:30 mile, which was good enough to be the 48th man (51st overall) to cross the line out of 44,571 finishers.
First, it was a stomach cramp that popped up around the ninth mile — what he speculated was a result of eating the wrong nutritional supplement while he was running.
By the 12th mile, McCormack was left feeling worn out. Then, a couple miles later, he stopped to vomit due to the gel he ate not sitting well on his stomach.
However, the thought of stopping and calling it quits on unfamiliar streets never crossed his mind. McCormack was resolute to finish, after not making it to the end during the 2016 Summer Olympic qualifying marathon in Los Angeles, the distance that is the standard to make the Summer Games in the half marathon.
Proud of finishing his first full marathon, the 26-year-old used the race to work through some of the logistics to post an even faster time in the future.
As his shoes started to pick up water during the Chicago Marathon, McCormack pondered the possibility of wearing a different type of footwear the next time around.
There was also ‘the wall’ of reaching the last half of the 26-mile race and wondering if he had enough gas left in the tank.
That’s where the Gainesville native relies on his accomplished network of running friends. As an elite runner, McCormack is used to lining up in the first wave of competitors with guys like Olympic champion Mo Farah, and fifth-ranked US runner Parker Stinson.
Analytical by nature, McCormack makes sure to use the resources available to bounce ideas off his peers and get advice on what others at the top of the running world do to increase speed.
“All those guys are very approachable, so I ask about different things to get their advice when I can,” said McCormack.
A six-time half marathon winner, McCormack feels that the half marathon and 10-kilometer is his best distance. The 6-foot-4 runner, who excelled at Clemson University and then Auburn University, can use his long stride and lean frame to run miles at an alarmingly fast pace.
Still, getting across the finish line at the full marathon is something he’s been pining for since coming up short in Los Angeles two years ago.
Interestingly, the Olympic qualifier for the 2020 Summer Games will be held in Atlanta.
These are roads McCormack knows very well. Five times since 2011, McCormack was the first Georgian to cross the finish line at the Peachtree Road Race — the world’s largest 10K road event.
That was a yearly goal for McCormack before relocating to Florida and no longer being able to claim he lives in Georgia.
So far, 2018 has also been a good one for McCormack in the half marathon.
On Aug. 18, he finished first (1:05.16) out of approximately 5,000 other runners at the Iceland Half Marathon in its capital city of Reykjavik.
Earlier this year, he also won the half marathon in Washington.