Run­ning on in­spi­ra­tion

Multi-award win­ning ath­lete Harry Cooze hopes to mo­ti­vate oth­ers to get off their couches and get ac­tive

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY MAR­TINE BLUE MARYSTOWN, N.L. martineblue­

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.

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