Like father, like son
Making positive changes and sharing in mutual respect a recipe for success for running duo
The Cape to Cabot Race on Oct. 14 was more than just a run for Joe Brown and his son Corey.
It was the first time they had taken part in the race together. Joe had run the race 10 times before, but for Corey this was his first attempt.
Completing the most difficult race in the province is an accomplishment in its own right, but for the father and son duo, it took on a special significance.
The race symbolized the lifechanging journey father and son have embarked on through diet, running and physical fitness — a journey sprinkled with mutual admiration and respect.
Joe explained how Corey motivated him to change his lifestyle and get fit 13 years ago.
“It was quite simple, Corey got married. Well, that and a dare from my wife,” Joe said in a whimsical manner.
“When we visited our son for Christmas in 2004, everyone was talking about what they were going to wear for Corey’s wedding the following year. My wife looked at me and said, ‘I don’t know what we’re going to get for you, Joe. You’re certainly not going to fit into a suit.’”
Weighing in at 280-lbs at that time, his response to his wife was, “Don’t you worry, by the time the wedding rolls around, I will be down 50 pounds.”
When he returned to his home in Grand Bank, Joe started a diet and exercise regime to make good on his promise.
“I started a diet January 2005, but it really wasn’t a diet. I didn’t have any use for these fad diets. I had to do it my way. Basically I gave up 90 per cent of the junk food I was eating, including six-eight tins of (soft drinks) a day,” explained Joe.
He started working out on the treadmill, first with a 10-minute walk at three miles an hour. This daily routine peaked at 10-km runs at more than six miles an hour. When the weather became warmer, he moved his workout outdoors.
Joe felt good about himself. “Just before the wedding, we went to a clothing store and they fitted me out with a brand new suit for the wedding. It felt pretty good,” he said.
Joe didn’t lose the 50 pounds he promised his wife he would lose before the wedding; he lost a 100 pounds and was ready for the celebration.
And Joe has kept the weight off, losing another 20 pounds after the wedding.
He continues to run 30-35 kilometres a week and doubles that when he is training for a race. Over the past 13 years, he has competed in the Garnish 10-K race 12 times, the Tely Ten 11 times and the Cape to Cabot 11 times.
His 11th Cape to Cabot run was special for Joe.
“It was a pleasure to run it with my son,” he said.
“Dad was always a role model for me. I couldn’t go wrong by following his example.”
— Corey Brown
Corey had watched with great interest what his father was doing, especially when he would come to St. John’s for a race.
“The family would always come out to watch him finish the Tely Ten or the Cape to Cabot,” he recalled. “It was inspiring and pretty emotional for me to see Dad accomplish these things.
“I admired him for all the work he put into it, especially seeing where he came from and where he is now. I wished I could do it, but I was getting a bit older, I had packed on a bit of weight and it always seemed like I never had the time, I told myself.”
Like his Dad, Corey needed something to kick-start his effort.
“I started having some health issues,” Corey explained. “That was the eye opener for me. I got on the scales when we started the ‘biggest loser’ competition at work and I was embarrassed. I had never been so heavy in my
life. I had to do something.”
Corey looked at what his father had accomplished.
“Dad was always a role model for me,” he said. “I couldn’t go wrong by following his example.”
Before embarking on his running routine, Corey started to watch his diet.
“I set achievable goals for myself, aiming to lose five pounds and then another five pounds,” he said. “I followed Dad’s plan — a sensible diet, cutting out junk food; I don’t believe in fad diets, either.”
He started running on the treadmill before training outdoors and getting into shape.
“I did that in moderation as well, running about 20 kilometres a week,” Corey said. “Running made me feel good; it’s just the trail and me. It’s a great stress reliever.”
Like his father’s, Corey changed lifestyle has been a success.
“I have lost 60 pounds in two and a half years,” he was happy to say.
Running the Cape to Cabot is testimony to his physical fitness. He has also competed in the Garnish 10-K race, the Paradise Five and Dime race, and the Race to Remember.
He said, however, running the Cape to Cabot with his father was special and very emotional.
“Words cannot express how proud I was to run the race with Dad today,” he said. “It’s one of these life moments I’ll never forget. I know how he feels about this race and I know how he feels that I ran it with him.”
From the left, Joe and Corey Brown
From the left, Corey and Joe Brown shortly after they completed the Cape to Cabot Road Race.