Max D'onoghue-McDonald of Seattle Prep, competed in his first Footlocker West Championship at the end of last season, a season that would have shelved a lesser athlete. A driven athlete committed to do all the work required to become an elite runner, Max found himself broken by the end of last season. He finished his junior year with a stress fracture and severely anemic. In spite of this he finished with the 3A XC title. His path led him to Borderclash, requiring him once again to grin and bear his pain , finishing 5th place in an impressive group. At this point few knew how much pain this athlete was in. Footlocker offered one more torture session, in spite of his pain Max finished an impressive but sobering 35th place. The year of hard work and outstanding performance left Max with a goal forged in pain and frustration. Max prepared well, did all the right work, had great coaches and great races, observing from the outside, by any standard he did great. But only Max knew the pain and frustration of running with a fracture and having your chemistry off enough to prevent tapping into the speed and guts he knew was in there.
Max wanted everyone to know just what kind of an athlete he knew he was.
A less rigorous work schedule, a reliance on racing smarts and good instincts, linked with the fortunate grouping of a stellar field to compete with, all this and more percolated together to offer Max a fall season of outstanding times, great races, another XC title, a Borderclash win and most importantly a 6th place finish at the Footlocker West championships. Max and his equally impressive WA team mate, Jake Riley of Sehome, who placed 2nd in this meet of the West Coast's best runners, will be going to the Foot Locker Nationals this weekend in Balboa Park, San Diego.
Max started out this season set on showing up at this prestigious event, put on for only the best. This time, he is in great health, great shape, wiser and perhaps most importantly, in a group of athletes he can honestly consider peers.
In true fashion of a smart runner, Max looked on his last race, figured what went wrong and what went right and spent this weeks training, tweaking his game to make it to the top. Jumping from a 30 degree week in Washington to a balmy 70 degrees at MT Sac.
made a mark on the race. San Diego may offer an even warmer venue. Special training designed to beckon the runner to the early days of September, deliberate hydration and the confidence of making the right choices, the right training and the right stuff, should lock in this athletes sites on a mark he has dreamed about, worked for and deserves.