Running on inspiration
Multi-award winning athlete Harry Cooze hopes to motivate others to get off their couches and get active
If you live in the Marystown area, you’ve likely passed dedicated athlete Harry Cooze on his daily bike ride between his house in Marystown and the Salt Pond trail.
The 81-year old Marystown resident vowed not to let a triple bypass surgery slow him down in 1998.
“At the time my doctor told me, you’ll be back in 10 years for more surgery,” Cooze recalled. “I said ‘No sir, I won’t be back because I’m going to go out and do something about it.’ So with that in mind I started getting in tip-top shape.”
Cooze changed his diet and trained hard to run the Tely 10 just a year after enduring openheart surgery. Since then Cooze figures he’s run eight or 10 Tely 10 road races. He’s earned 33 running medals from local and international races as distant as Turkey and was the 2006 recipient of the Dr. John Williams Award, presented to a runner who motivates and inspires others following a health set back or other serious challenge.
In 1981, while teaching physical education at Burin Vocational School, Harry and his wife Dora, along with Gord Brockerville, formed the Mariners Athletic Club in Marystown. Cooze was also a torch-bearer for the Oylmpic Winter Games in 1998. He carried the torch for one kilometre in the Whitburne area.
Cooze adopted a daily regimen of biking 16 kilometers to a local pond where he then runs around the pond, running up to eight kilometres a day.
Cooze’s secret to staying inspired to continue pushing himself is setting personal standards.
“It motivates me to stay well, to stay fit,” Cooze said. “I try to go 300kms/month. I find that by setting standards, it encourages me to keep at it.
Despite his fervent fitness routine, Cooze dealt with another medical setback last fall.
“I was finding it difficult to push my bike up the road,” Cooze recalled. “I had some discomfort in my chest and went to see my doctor about it, and he suggested I get this valve replacement done.
“There’s a new procedure, called a tavi (transcatheter aortic valve implantation), there’s only so many people selected to get that. They do two a month. I was selected for November month and they did my valve replacement. I have a cow’s valve now.”
Cooze was soon back in running shape with his now part cow heart. His doctor told Cooze that he was fit enough to “just go out and live like you’ve never had this done. You can run, jump, swim, you’ve got no limitations.”
Cooze credits his fitness level going into the procedure with his amazing recovery time.
Besides his busy training and racing schedule, Cooze makes time to volunteer with the Lion’s Club, the Rotary Club and the Laubach Literacy Council. His goal is to inspire others to “get out and get active.” Next time you pass Cooze peddling his bike or running the trails, he hopes to remind you that you can do it too.
Harry Cooze bikes up to 16 kilometers a day.
There’s no stopping him. Harry Cooze ran in international races as far away as Turkey.
Marystown athlete Harry Cooze has won 33 running medals.
Harry Cooze received the Dr. John Williams Award for inspiring others to run in 2006.