By Anthony Hahn
Boulder Daily Camera Staff Writer
Following news that Boulder trail runner Dave Mackey had chosen to have his left leg amputated below the knee — a decision that follows more than a year of struggle and recovery since it was crushed by a 300-pound boulder during a run — friends and family from the local running community filled the Flatirons Running store Monday night to celebrate the unique occasion.
The mood Monday matched the night’s unconventional purpose — the specialty running store was converted into a makeshift dance hall, with friends and family dressed in various costumes honoring Halloween and bidding Mackey well before surgery.
With a mix of dancing, drinking and an obligatory signing of the leg that was slated to be amputated Tuesday, the night resembled what some of Mackey’s friends referred to as a “Viking funeral of sorts.”
“I think I’m in a good space,” Mackey said Monday night. “I’ve been talking about possibilities. I thought I was out of the woods, but I never really blocked out the possibility.
“Emotionally, it’s tough. It’s going to be tough tomorrow when I wake up without my leg and probably the days after, but that’s only short term.”
Mackey injured his leg May 23, 2015, while running on a trail toward Bear Peak. He stepped on a loose rock and fell, and the boulder rolled onto his lower leg, pinning him.
Doctors were able to save his leg, but in the 16 months since the injury, Mackey said he’s dealt with constant pain.
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Champion Trail Runner Dave Mackey Decides to Amputate Injured Left Leg
Champion trail runner Dave Mackey posted some dramatic news today on his Facebook page about his long recovery from his well-documented trail running accident in May 2015. After more than 16 months of surgeries, physical therapy and continued complications, the 46-year-old trail runner announced that he’s decided to have his lower left leg amputated below the knee.
During what was expected to be a routine trail run in the mountains that frame the western edge of Boulder, Colo., Mackey fell off a rock and tumbled more than 20 feet, badly breaking his left leg in the process. After seven surgeries during a three-week hospital stay, Mackey returned home with his injured leg intact, albeit with an external bracing system and crutches to help him get around. Although he recovered enough to walk with a significant limp over the next year, he still had mobility issues, internal infections and constant pain.
Several more surgeries—including his most recent procedure about three months ago—helped him walk without a cane. But continued complications with the repaired leg put him in the tough place of opting for more surgeries or permanently amputating his lower left leg. He talked through the scenarios with numerous doctors, as well as family and friends, and decided that he will have the amputation surgery on Nov. 1.