Gutsy performance at Jacksonville Bank Marathon, Mackley prevails over foot injury

12/22/2011 - 16:40

By Bryan Graydon
President, Lakeland Runners Club

runner.jpgThe Dec. 18 Jacksonville Bank Marathon in Jacksonville, FL, was recently featured in Runner’s World Magazine as a great race for those looking for a fast time. Scott Mackley was looking for just such a race for his debut marathon and that is exactly what he got as he was the overall winner in a time of 2:31:47.

Scott went out at his pace as the blazing fast athletes running the half-marathon from the Zap Elite team took off like a shot from a gun. He settled into is his rhythm and began clicking off the miles. I have coached Scott throughout 2011 so I rode my bike along the course with him and it was amazing how relaxed he was as he ran alone for nearly the entire race. .

A blister began to bother him around mile 6 or so but it did not affect his pace. As we came to the point where the half marathon and marathon runners split, we didn’t know exactly what place he was in among the marathoners, but as he continued straight on Scott Mill Rd. the lead police escort vehicle was waiting and we knew he was in the lead. I timed on my watch what kind of lead he had on second place and it was around 30 seconds at that point.

Scott remained relaxed and actually began to speed up a little over the next few miles clicking off splits of 5:37, 5:37, 5:36 and 5:34. After a few more miles, I stopped to time his lead and it was up to a full minute. At one point around mile 14 or so he said his knee was starting to bother him, but I certainly could not tell riding behind him as he looked just as smooth as he did during the first mile.

As he came off the right-hand turn from Brady Rd. back onto Mandarin Rd., he began the back portion of the out and back course and came across the other athletes in the race. They were all cheering him on and shouting words of encouragement. There was even one woman we passed twice during the race who was fervently cheering for Scott by name, but neither of us knew who she was. It was a huge boost to Scott to hear the cheers from the other runners and from his girlfriend and parents who made it to 6 different points on the course to watch and cheer him on.

When he turned back onto Scott Mill Rd between miles 19 and 20, I stopped again to time his lead and it was up to just over 2 minutes by then. Just after mile 21, Scott said that he didn’t know about the “wall” people always talk about but he was starting to get tired. He dropped off his pace a little at that point and posted a 5:52 mile. The athletes trailing were not getting any closer to him, but we would find out later that that is when there was some good racing going on behind him and a change in second place occurred.

Scott fell off his race pace a little and his splits were right around or just over 6:00 for the rest of the race, but at mile 23 he let out a loud expletive. I asked what happened and he told me the blister he had been dealing with for most of the race had just popped. It was shooting white-hot pain with every step but he fought that pain and his stride never wavered. As we turned back onto San Jose Blvd to begin the final trek to The Bolles School track and the finish line, he began to pass half-marathoners making their way to the end and they too began to cheer him on as the police escort led the way against oncoming traffic.

Scotty Mac blister.jpgA quick left-hand turn and almost a mile through a neighborhood and then it was the final stretch home. He got to the turn that would take him into the stadium and he got an extra pep in his step. He entered the track and gave it all he had left as he rounded the two turns and ran those last 50 yards to the awaiting finish line. When he crossed he was met by a reporter from the local newspaper along with his family and friends in attendance.

While he was being interviewed, we noticed that the side of his shoe was soaked with blood from where the blistered had popped at mile 23. He was helped to the medical tent to receive attention on his foot and that is when we saw just how bad it was. But like a true champion, his spirits were not dampened and he joked to me as he lay on the table wrapped in his Mylar blanket and shivering, “See Bryan, this is why I hate running,” and then he laughed.

(Editor’s note: The writer is Scott Mackley’s coach. Shannon Miller of Jacksonville was the female winner in 2:45:24.)

Jacksonville Bank Marathon results:
Half-Marathon results:
5K results:

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