Award honours Williams' inspirational attitude

John
John Browne
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TELY 10

When Patricia Williams thinks about her dad, what immediately comes to mind is that "everybody loved him and thought he was a wonderful fellow."

Dr. John Williams was an inspiration to hundreds of people who witnessed his participation in the Tely 10 Road Race.

He died in 2004 at age 72, but his legacy continues in the form of a special award instituted in his honour in 2005.

Dr. John Williams (right) and his daughter Patricia get ready to cross the finish line at Bannerman Park during the 1997 Tely 10 Road Race. Even though the Williams were last across the finish line, Dr. Williams' participation in the race was remarkable c

When Patricia Williams thinks about her dad, what immediately comes to mind is that "everybody loved him and thought he was a wonderful fellow."

Dr. John Williams was an inspiration to hundreds of people who witnessed his participation in the Tely 10 Road Race.

He died in 2004 at age 72, but his legacy continues in the form of a special award instituted in his honour in 2005.

The Dr. John Williams Award is presented in his memory to the Tely 10 participant who has inspired others through enthusiastic and spirited participation in the annual Telegram 10 Mile Road Race.

Dr. Williams, a long-time pathologist at St. Clare's hospital, suffered a heart attack in 1996, just 11 days before his retirement.

"The people who worked for him were always referred to as the lab staff," explained Patricia, "and during the first year he was recovering, he watched his colleagues, staff and friends run the Tely 10 outside our home on Simmons Ave.

"As they ran by, he turned to my mom (Joan) and said: 'I'm going to be doing that next year to help in my recovery,' and so he did," said Williams who walked the Tely 10 the next seven years with her dad.

"He was a man who had not gotten much exercise his whole life," said Williams, "but Mom got him into to healthier eating and walking around Bowring Park and he used the Tely 10 has part of his recovery program."

Williams said Sue Perry, a long-time Lab staff employee, is the one who came up with the idea of creating an award in Dr. Williams name.

"It was designed to help encourage people to use walking as regular exercise to help recover from some significant problems," Williams said.

Born in Bay Roberts in 1931, Dr. Williams attended St. Bon's graduated from there in 1948. He attended Memorial University before continuing his studies at the University College in Dublin, where he obtained his medical degree in 1956. He received his certificate in general pathology in 1963 and became a fellow of the Royal College of physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1972.

The Telegram took a photo of Dr. Williams and Patricia finishing their first Tely 10 in 1997, which was the 70th anniversary of the race and Patricia turned the photo into a button which she and others wear each time they participate in the event.

Patricia Williams competed in the Tely 10 every year since with the exception of last year, but she said she's returning to the event this summer, which is set for July 25.

Past recipients of the Williams award have included Don Winsor (2005), Harry Cooze (2006), Ralph Chancey (2007) and Nora Hutchings (2008).

Nominations should be sent to the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Association (NLAA) e-mail:athletics@nlaa.ca. The deadline is July 15.

To be eligible for this award, the candidate must have participated in the Tely 10 Road Race at least once, must have specifically motivated others to participate in the Tely 10, either by walking or running or as a wheelchair participant and must,by participation in the Tely 10, have inspired and motivated others to become physically active.

The candidate may be someone who began regular exercise at an advanced age, overcame a serious emotional or physical challenge in life or began exercising while recovering from a serious or life-threatening illness

The award was not presented last year.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: University College in Dublin, Royal College of physicians, Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Association

Geographic location: Bowring Park, Bay Roberts, Canada

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