Locals: Mac Staryk

A Q&A with Mac Staryk

Mac Staryk

Interview by Maggie Theodora

Photo by Ryan Dorgan

“My dad encouraged me to try cross-country; he said I’d get in super great shape,” says recent Jackson Hole Community School grad Mac Staryk about why he joined the Jackson Hole High School (JHHS) cross-country team his freshman year. This past year, Staryk, along with teammate and fellow recent grad Wyatt Sullivan, were among the state’s—and country’s—fastest distance runners. Last fall, they helped the JHHS boys’ cross-county team win the state championship. In March, despite JHHS not having an indoor track team, the two qualified for and then traveled to New York City to compete in the New Balance Nationals Indoor meet. “I’m glad I took my dad’s suggestion about cross-country,” says Staryk, who this summer hopes to do for the second time a classic Jackson Hole endurance test piece called The Picnic. It involves biking to Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) from the Town Square, swimming across Jenny Lake, running/climbing to the 13,770-foot summit of the Grand Teton and then doing everything in reverse. The first time Staryk did it he was 16. “I’m in even better shape now, and now that I’ve done it once, I want to see how fast I can do it.” (His first attempt took 19.5 hours.)

Q: Did you love running from your first cross-country practice?

MS: I didn’t fall in love with it at first, but midway through the season. When Wyatt and I started to place well in races I liked it more and more.

Q: Now are you more competitive with yourself or with others?

MS: With myself I’d say.

Q: But it was winning against others that helped you first come to love running?

MS: That was at the beginning. Now I like seeing the kind of shape I can get in and how fast I can get. But winning is nice, especially in cross-country, because that’s such a team sport. To win state, everyone has to be on board and working hard.

Q: About how many miles do you run a week?

MS: About 45 miles in six days and then one day off.

Q: How do you spend your rest day?

MS: I’ll maybe go for a swim, but usually
I like to sleep and lay around as much as
I can.

Q: Do you get flak from your friends about running instead of skiing or snowboarding?

MS: Most of my friends are Nordic skiers, so they understand the whole running-in-the-winter thing.

Q: What’s the coldest temperature you’ve run in?

MS: About minus 10 degrees [Fahrenheit].

Q: Where do you run in the winter? The track is buried beneath feet of snow.

MS: Wherever we can find roads that aren’t snowy or icy. We do speed workouts one day a week in the Snow King tunnel, which is really crucial.

Q: What about during cross-country

MS: We run mostly around the high school, but then do one long run up in [GTNP]—around Jenny Lake or String Lake.

Q: Are any of the cross-country races as scenic as running in the park?

MS: Not even close. Most are golf courses in the middle of nowhere. But that’s good—there’s no scenery to distract me.

Q: What do you think about when you run?

MS: If it’s a race I’m pretty focused and thinking about being relaxed, but aggressive. On training runs, I usually think about random things, not about running.

Q: What were you thinking about on your last training run? [Editor’s note: this interview was conducted in early March, during a week when temperatures were between 0 and 15 degrees.) 

MS: Summer in general—about hanging out on Jackson Lake and being warm. I’m really looking forward to being warm.

Receive Published Stories In Your Inbox

Enter your email address below to subscribe to published stories.