The eastern Idaho running and triathlon community lost a major figure on Sunday.
Michael Hays, founder of Personal Best Performance, passed away at age 62 following a brief illness. If you scroll through the archives of this blog–particularly in the months of June, October and November–you’ll see him quoted numerous times pertaining to events he organized in the area for many years. He was one of the first sources I established upon moving to Idaho Falls and learning about the running community here and I have him to credit for this feature I wrote on Idaho Falls grad and triathlete Stephanie Liddle in 2014.
Tonight, a memorial run in his honor takes place at Freeman Park. It is free admission and organized by Bill’s Bike and Run, which partnered with Personal Best Performance in hosting events numerous times over the years.
The Medal Stand: Running community to honor Michael Hays tonight
The eastern Idaho running community is honoring one of its own tonight in a fitting setting.
Bill’s Bike and Run has organized the Michael Hays Memorial Run scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at Freeman Park in Idaho Falls in honor of Michael Hays, founder of Personal Best Performance and director of the annual Run to Feed the Hungry, Rigby Triathlon and Run for the Cure who died Sunday at age 62 following a brief illness.
Gray Augustus, a runner and one of the owners at Bill’s Bike and Run, said he learned Monday morning about Hays’s passing and reached out to Hays’s family soon after. After speaking with one of Hays’s daughters, Alicia, Augustus moved forward with the idea for a memorial run after he got approval from the rest of Hays’s family. The entire planning process was completed within 24 hours.
“We wanted to make sure it was remembering Michael in a way they wanted it,” Augustus said Wednesday by phone.
Augustus met Hays eight years ago through the events Hays directed with Personal Best Performance. Their paths crossed many times through events Augustus participated in and at races Bill’s Bike and Run and Personal Best Performance partnered up to direct.
Augustus said Hays never hesitated to pitch in, and so many events throughout eastern Idaho — the MAD Marathon, the Teton Dam Marathon, the Great Snake River Triathlon— have Hays’s imprint on them.
“You’d be really hard pressed to find anything in this community that hasn’t benefited from having him around,” Augustus said. “I’ve honestly never met someone who was willing to go to so many lengths and give so much of his time even if it wasn’t his event. He’s shown up at my races to cook food, man aid stations. He gives selflessly. It was his mentality. He would give to anyone who needed it.”
Augustus said the events Hays organized will continue on thanks to his family.
“He has an extremely strong family,” Augustus said. “His children have stepped in. His family has taken charge of those events just as if Michael were doing it.”
The race is free admission and will follow the Run to Feed the Hungry 5k or 10k course. A fundraiser site has been established to help Hays’s wife Wendy with funeral expenses at https://www.youcaring.com/wendyhays-814706.