Why We Do This: Chris McCubbins

Chris McCubbins is the uncle of my masseuse, Katharine Chaney at www.PureJoyBodywork.com. He recently died after a valiant battle against the cancer that I am racing to cure.

As a youth, Chris never got a hit in Little League baseball, he was the last person to be selected in school yard games, and he was the last player to be substituted into basketball games in the Church league. He did not make the Junior High track team. In high school, however, he went out for cross-country running, and was the fastest runner on the team. His mile time on the track was 4:41. The next year, he won his conference in cross-country running and, though he was sick for the State Championships, he ran a 4:24 mile, which placed him 3rd.

Chris attended Oklahoma State University from 1963 to 1967. In 1965, he placed 5th in the NCAA cross-country running championships. Two years later, he won the NCAA steeplechase championship, and later that summer he won the gold medal for the USA in the steeplechase at the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. He also finished first at the Europe vs Americas Steeplechase in Montreal.

In 1969, Chris represented the USA at the world cross-country running championships in Scotland, and in 1969 and 1970, he competed in modern pentathlon for the US Army, placing 5th in the national modern pentathlon championships in 1970.

In 1975, Chris ran a 10K in 28:16 at the Montreal pre-Olympics meet. That time still stands as a Manitoba record in the 10K. In early 1976 he ran a 5K in 13:44 in Knoxville Tennessee. At the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal in the 10K race, he had not fully recovered from a groin injury, and ran a personal worst.

Chris later became a Canadian citizen, and represented Canada at a world cross country running meet in Glasgow Scotland. His last international race was at the world cross-country running championships in 1984 in New Jersey.

In 1986, Runners’ World magazine rated Chris as the #4 masters road runner in the world, and in 1987 he set a North American record for Masters in the 15K: 45:34. Chris was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

Chris spent almost his entire 27-year teaching career with early years students in Winnipeg schools. For all of his adult life, Chris was involved in outdoor fitness activities like running and cross country skiing, and was a particularly enthusiastic supporter and participant in the Winnipeg Inner City Kids’ Ski Program.

Chris McCubbins passed away on August 21, 2009 after a six month battle with leukemia.