I have always been competitive with running and hope for a few more years, still looking for the finish line!
I first noticed Maurice during the Vancouver Island Race Series two years ago, when I first ran in it. He was one of three or four men who were always winning in their age category – 80 to 84. When these men were presented with their winning medals and ribbons, the entire gymnasium of runners rose to give them a standing ovation. This happened every time! Earlier this year Maurice moved up to an elite category all on his own: 85+. The standing ovations were still there, but they were even louder and yes, Maurice, blushed. And for some reason, a tear always welled up in my eye. Would I ever still be running at that age? I sure hope so and what a great role model to follow.
I soon learned from a fellow runner/racer that Maurice has been winning these races and setting course age-group records for years. What an athlete! Maurice and I connected through Craig Odermatt, both members of the Prairie Inn Harriers and both winners! We were soon friends on Facebook and I followed his comings and goings. I recently thought it was time to feature him in my Runner Interview series.
Maurice is a man of few words, but his continued endurance speaks for itself. [Update: I heard from his daughter, Claire, who supplied the above photo, that he broke the Canadian 5k record in the 85+ age group in the 2015 BC 55+ Games, today! She is also a runner and has trained with him the last couple of years as well as participated in a few of the same races. It appears that it runs in the family!]
What is your running history?
My first competitive race was at the age of 21 in 1951. As a child at the age of 10, I would run home from school every day to deliver newspapers! From the age of 30 to 55, I was involved with different sports.
Why do you run?
I have always been competitive with running and hope for a few more years, still looking for the finish line! Running to me is a lifestyle, enjoying all that life can offer and making friends with others of similar minds and goals.
What was your last best/favorite race?
My last race was the Times Colonist 10k in April this year. I enjoyed the excitement of the runners, especially first time competitors. Unfortunately I had broken 3 ribs in February and was not at my best for the run. My favourite distance now is the 8k. As I have aged I find the shorter distances easier to handle.
What is your next race?
Later this month I plan to compete in the Plus55 (Senior) games at Swanguard stadium. The 5000m, 800m and 1500m.
I hit the track once a week and put in a couple of road or trail runs each week.
What type of training do you do?
I hit the track once a week and put in a couple of road or trail runs each week. On the track I concentrate on even pace laps with the next road race in mind. Due to a hamstring injury my program has been set back a couple of months. My favourite trail is the Lochside Trail in Saanich from Matticks out into the country side and back. I prefer to run in the mornings, it sets me up nice for my post-lunch time nap.
What kind of food philosophy do you follow?
I do not eat meat but am not a complete vegetarian. I also enjoy a glass of wine every day of the week at 4:00 p.m.! Mornings prior to training or racing I eat a slice of toast with honey on, and in the winter a bowl of porridge oats.
Do you have a running hero/ role model?
I have been a member of the Prairie Inn Harriers since 1985. Bob Reid has always been my mentor especially for trail running. I have drawn advice from Bruce Deacon, Arthur Taylor when he was alive, and other members of the club including Mike Creery who led us in many track sessions.
PIH welcomes runners of all abilities with group sessions most of the days of the week.
How do you relax, when you are not running?
I like to read a good mystery, I am a jack of all trades with my tool box, but with cooking, I’m quite limited.
Have you had any running setbacks?
Yes, several physical setbacks after the age of 80. A new heart valve, for example, in 2012. Broken ribs this year, now the hamstring… that was preventable.
Do you listen to music when you run?
No never, I prefer to listen to the sounds of nature in the countryside.