Hays Labor Day run honors long-time runner

Helen Hands
Hays Area Roadrunners

If you’ve lived in Hays for a while, you’ve probably seen a red-haired guy out running, usually with a dog. That’s Mac, also known as Bob McAnany. Mac has probably logged more miles than anyone in town. For him, running is an essential part of life, like football or fishing is for others.

Although Mac has had a very successful running career, 2-time All-American in indoor track and member of the Fort Hays State University Tiger Sports Hall of Fame, he won’t tell you about his wins or times. His impact on the running and wider community goes far beyond his success on the track or road. For 35-plus years, Mac has been a quiet motivator in the running and fitness community.

For many runners in the Hays area, the Hays Area Roadrunners running club (www.haysarearoadrunners.com), which he has led since the mid-1980s, has made running more fun and inspired them to compete in races.

HARR, as we call it for short, is open to runners of all ages and abilities and walkers. As an old, plodding runner, I can’t run with Mac and the faster runners in HARR, but I look forward to running a variety of routes and especially socializing afterwards with everyone.

Until COVID hit, we’d reward ourselves after a run with a burger or chicken wings washed down with pitchers of beer. We still eat together after our weekly runs, but now it’s a picnic. The friendly banter at our post-race meal is an even greater reward.

When not competing in a race, Mac has been involved in putting them on. For at least 19 years, he has been the course director for the Fort Hays State University Homecoming run, and he has supported the FHSU track and field team by assisting with their home meets.

His work as a physical therapist assistant has had an even wider impact on the Hays community. Countless people in and around Hays are back on their feet or back to their chosen sport after working with Mac.

One trait Mac is known for is tradition. Many of the runs we do with HARR are based on training runs he did with the FHSU track and cross-country teams. Two of his traditional races are 10 milers. He has run the Atwood 10 Mile an incredible 39 times in the past 41 years. He missed one race 10 months after having hip-resurfacing surgery because he promised his surgeon he would wait one year before running again. Since then, he has run it four more times. This year he’s been unable to run a 10-miler because Atwood was canceled due to COVID-19 and his other long-time 10-miler, White Line Fever, from Great Bend to Hoisington, was discontinued a few years ago.

When Dennis Weber, retired FHSU track and field coach, asked HARR about organizing a new race in Hays, we all thought it fitting to have a 10-mile race in Hays in honor of Mac. Thus, the Mac 10 Mile was born.

The race will be Labor Day, Sept. 7, starting at 8 a.m. at the northwest gate of Lewis Field Stadium. For more information or to register, go to www.heartlandtiming.com. Cost is $25 for individuals and $40 for 2-person teams if you enter by Sept. 1.