The world of weightlifting is mourning the passing of a true legend as McPherson native Glenn Pendlay lost a battle with cancer and died on Sept. 5 at McPherson Hospital at the age of just 48. Pendlay died due to complications from his ongoing battle with Stage 4 Metastatic Cancer, an illness which was only made public in the past month.
Growing up in McPherson, Pendlay worked with his parents in their bait and tackle business that is located along Old Highway 81 just south of the West Avenue A intersection. While Pendlay had been gone from the McPherson area for many years, he returned to his hometown about 3 1/2 years ago and was helping with the coaches at Mac-Town CrossFit.
A USA Weightlifting Level 5 coach, Pendlay had reached the highest honor one can receive in the industry and he spent a lot of time teaching and growing athletes throughout the years.
Among the impacts that Pendlay had on the weightlifting community worldwide was the variation of a barbell rowing exercise that was named after him – the Pendlay Row.
Involved in coaching the sport since 1996, for some 23 years Pendlay was best known for his involvement in the Muscledriver USA and California Strength programs in which he helped create extraordinary training environments for each of those teams while helping produce numerous World Team members.
Among the legends which Pendlay had the opportunity to work with was the legendary Russian Weightlifting coach Alexander Medvedyev whom he met at the Junior World Championships for Powerlifting in Moscow, Russia in 1992. After spending time with Medvedyev, Pendlay changed the major he was studying at Kansas State University to Exercise Physiology, an area for which he would eventually earn a master’s degree in. Pendlay specialized in Endocrinology research which studies how stress affects the body and how the body adapts to that stress. His research opened doors for him to work with athletes and coaches across the World and in a variety of sports.
Establishing Wichita Falls Weightlifting in 1999, Pendlay made it a club of legends and since that point he has helped produce nearly 100 national champions from the youth level to medalist at the Pan American Championships, the Pan American Games and at the IWF World Championships.
Pendlay may be best remembered for the generosity of his time with almost anyone who wanted to grow the sport of weightlifting and he was always willing to share his knowledge and resources that will really leave an indelible mark on the sport for years ahead.
On Saturday, September 7, Mac-Town CrossFit honored Pendlay’s passing by holding a Pendlay Memorial Camp that ran from 8:30 a.m. until whenever visitors were done in the evening.
Among the highlights of the Memorial Camp was to be a lifting session from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., which was to be followed by a two-hour ‘lunch and celebration of life’, honoring the McPherson’s own and weightlifting legend Glenn Pendlay.
According to whispers, Mac-Town CrossFit was expecting weightlifters from all over the country to be in town on Saturday to honor one of their sport legends and a man that so many simply called ‘coach’.
Pendlay’s funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at McPherson Church of Christ where Gary Witcher and Pendlay’s lifelong friend Barry Park will officiate the service. Burial will follow at the Windom Cemetery.