By P. Haywood
ST. PETERSBURG FL — For some sprinters life in the fast lane only lasts for about 10 to 12 years. However, that is not the case for Jeff Mack, who was a star sprinter a Dunedin High School in 1991. During his high school career Mack was a state performer in a multitude of events but his specialty was the 100 meters, 4×100 meter relay and the long jump. Mack finished his career fourth in the state as a long jumper.
Here is something that may astound you readers, Mack has never attended college to run track. For the most part, he attended ITT Technical Institute and he received his degree as an Electronic Engineer. Mack’s passion for track continued even though he had never participated on a collegiate level. Mack had the ability to gain a scholarship but as a teenager he got caught up in financially assisting his mother at home. Furthermore, at that time Mack’s mother stressed that he should get his high school diploma. She knew the importance of education but basically she left that option up to her son. Mack was faced with the dilemma of finding the financial means to attend college to run track, but he chose not to.
Mack searched for a coach and finally he found one by the name of Elliot Smith in 1995. Smith guided Mack as far as helping him to hone his skills on the oval surface. Mack said, “One thing that Smith introduced to him was how to run unattached.” Running unattached is equivalent to being a free agent in the NFL. Being in that situation you are not tied to any track club or school. Mack began to compete in collegiate meets around the state at the age 25.
Here is something that is remarkable for a man who is now 40 years of age, he has posted his personal best time in the 100 meters 10.56. When Mack was 33 he ran a 10.38. Mack says, “The older you get in this field, there is less competition.”
It is amazing that Mack can post consistent times in the 100 meters. He trains 5 days a week and he still runs competitively. As a matter of Mack will be competing in a Masters Event in Eugene Oregon later this month running the 200 meters. In this particular meet they are accepting runners who have posted times of at least 23.0 seconds and below. Mack has a qualifying time of 22.85.
Finally, Mack says, “Just because you get older you do not have to stop doing the things that you love.” Track has been his passion for most of his life and he still maintains that drive and determination to compete on any level. Drive Phaze Track Club has been very instrumental in Jeff Mack’s development this season. Mack has support of his family and Largo High School where he trains. God has given him a talent and he says, “I am running for Jesus.”
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