Manitoba running, skiing legend McCubbins dies

Chris McCubbins, a legend in Manitoba's cross-country running community, has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 63.
Former Olympian Chris McCubbins died Aug. 21 after a six-month battle with leukemia. ((Photo courtesy of Cross Country Ski Association of Manitoba))
Chris McCubbins, a legend in Manitoba's cross-country running community, has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 63.

McCubbins, who ran for Canada in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, died Aug. 21 from leukemia.

"He really has made a legacy in several areas," said friend and fellow runner Sheldon Reynolds. "His love of cross-country running — he really reveled in the fall season. He probably made between five and seven Canadian teams to go to the world championships in cross-country running."

Born in Oklahoma in 1945, McCubbins attended Oklahoma State University and won the 1967 NCAA steeplechase championship. Later that same year in Winnipeg, he won a gold medal in steeplechase at the 1967 Pan Am Games for the U.S.

He moved to Winnipeg in 1970 and became a Canadian citizen in 1976. For a six-year period from 1971-77, no runner in Canada could match Chris McCubbins over long distances, states a biography written by the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

Representing Canada in 1975, McCubbins posted a time of 28:16 in a 10-kilometre race at the Montreal pre-Olympics meet. That result still stands as a Manitoba record for that distance.

Chris McCubbins was a legend in cross-country running and skiing in Manitoba. ((Photo courtesy of Sport Manitoba))
In 1986, Runners' World magazine ranked McCubbins as the No. 4 masters roadrunner in the world. And in 1987, he set a North American record for masters runners in the 15 km with a time of 45:34.

McCubbins later took up cross-country skiing, was a founder of the Yellow Snow Athletic Club and helped develop some of the finest cross-country running trails in Winnipeg.

On Aug. 18, three days before he died, the Inner City Kids' Ski Program was renamed the Chris McCubbins Inner City Schools Ski Program and the Great Get Off Your Butt and Ski event was renamed Great Get Off Your Butt and Ski in Honour of Chris McCubbins.

Reynolds said there are also plans in the works to rename the Manitoba cross-country championships after McCubbins.