The long run: Corrie Mackey’s amazing fundraising journey, step by step

Courtesy Corrie Mackey

Few people wake up one morning and suddenly decide to run 50 miles in the span of 24 hours. No, the life of a long-distance runner is more complicated than that, thanks to years of training and motivation and goal-setting—just the things Corrie Mackey had in abundance when she decided to run 50 “Mackey Miles” through Baton Rouge on March 3 with a goal of raising $50,000 for Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, where she has worked as human resources director for 10 years. 

“When I came up with the plan last fall, I had run 30 miles before,” she says. “I usually run with a group of friends, and one of them had done a fundraiser last year for a local bike shop. It seemed so simple to raise money by doing something we already did regularly, and I knew that to be a successful long-distance runner you have to stay motivated by something you really care about. In any case, I was inspired.”

Lucky for Mackey, she didn’t have to search very far to find her motivator. Already deeply committed to the work Mary Bird Perkins staff members perform every day and keen to help them continue their mission, Mackey also knew that 2021 marked the treatment center’s 50th anniversary—a perfect time for a drastic gesture.

“It just seemed fun and appropriate to run 50 miles to celebrate 50 years,” she says.

Supporters showed up to cheer on her progress along a meticulously planned route tagged with mile markers. And thanks to Mackey planning her course on Facebook, the run turned into something of an outdoor social event.

“It actually took quite a few tries for me to figure it out on the map. It’s not as easy as you think to find 50 consecutive miles connected by sidewalks,” she laughs. 

The result: raising a total of $57,000—that’s $7,000 more than she had originally planned.

“I just know the ways this money will impact our patients and their families,” says Mackey. “It wasn’t just a random charity—it was something I really, truly cared about, and that helped me make it happen.”