Father of three, and friend to many in Victoria’s running community, Tim Mackness had big plans for his upcoming birthday this December.
“He hoped that he reached a point on his 60th birthday he would run a 60 km marathon. It was going to be a redeeming act of his,” said Tim Mackness Junior, one of Tim’s three children. “He had every intention of getting better.”
But the trauma and addiction Tim had struggled with his whole life came back, and this time, killed him.
“There are so many different things you can be addicted to. In his case it was alcohol,” said friend Gillie Easdon.
On Sept. 20, Tim walked away from Royal Jubilee in his hospital gown. On Oct. 6, his body was found just off the Lochside Trail in Saanich.
“Like with much of addiction it ebbs and flows, it’s not just happily ever after and it’s fine,” said Easdon. “For him, it really had its talons in quite deep.”
Easdon and fellow runner Rob Reid met Tim through a therapeutic running program called Every Step Counts over a decade ago.
“With Tim, the miles grew and the health grew and he was able to participate in local events as a runner. And then he ended up doing a marathon around Victoria for his 50th birthday,” said Reid.
Tim’s mother died when he was 14. While attending university at UVic, liquor became a release and formed over his lifetime into addiction — something in later years he fought to overcome.
“You can only hope that there’s enough of the good things going on that can make the difference. And it got tough for Tim, unfortunately,” said Reid.
“It’s an addictive substance with lipstick on,” said Easdon. “When any individual has trauma before their brain is fully formed, your potential to addiction to a substance is much higher.”
Running gave Tim a sense of belonging and community he cherished. His grieving family and friends want to remember him not only for his struggles with addiction but for the educated, intelligent, kind man he was.
“He was a really beautiful, tender-hearted individual and that’s a success,” said Easdon.
“The peace that he has right now as a result of leaving this earth, is a peace that is giving to me and is filling the void in myself that he took with him when he went,” said his grieving son Tim Jr.
The Mackness family has set up a GoFundMe to help cover Tim’s sudden funeral costs.
And while Tim won’t make it to his dream 60th birthday marathon, his family and friends promise instead they’ll run in his memory in the coming weeks.