Running a cross country race isn’t the easiest sports challenge in the world. Dashing across rough terrain for over 3 miles while chasing a personal goal drives the very best to compete against other top runners. For Cuthbertson High School cross country runner Max Walker, his path to cross country success has been full of challenges. For reference, let’s first learn more about the obstacles Max has overcome.



Max was born with a Chiari Malformation of the brain. This is an incurable, chronic illness. He has had several major brain surgeries and suffered a series of life threatening strokes after one of the surgeries. Also during one of his brain surgeries, Max’s face suffered extensive damage and left him with scarring that required several surgeries. In fact, he needs more surgeries but doesn’t want to take time off of running.



Growing up Max had a speech problem due to problems with his vocal chords (related to the Chiari Malformation). This speech problem combined with the facial scarring made him very shy and he would keep his head down all of the time. His entire left side was affected by the strokes. He was unable to play contact sports because of his condition and other types of sports were difficult due to his strokes. This was really difficult because Max is a triplet and his brother is very athletic. He grew up watching Davis play baseball and football.



Max’s grandfather ran in college and encouraged Max to give it a try. Max started running at the end of elementary school and hasn’t stopped. He is closely monitored by his physicians and it has completely changed his life. Being part of the Cuthbertson Cross Country team has given Max confidence, friendships and value as a contributing member of the team. He no longer holds his head down. He is happy and doing well in all aspects of his life. Most children and adults that suffer with the type of Chiari that Max has, aren’t able to live the life that he lives.


The son of Melissa Walker began competing with the varsity cross country team as a ninth grader. He has participated in the USATF Junior Olympics back in 2013 where he placed 12th nationally. Max also competed in the 2016 NCHSAA Cross Country State Championships. His personal best time for a 5K is 17:19.