George Harrower

George_HarrowerNAME: George Harrower
AGE: 84
HOME TOWN: Timmins, Ontario Canada

I am a retired Insurance Executive. I spent most of my working life in Toronto and Vancouver. I retired in 1975 and moved to Santa Barbara where I met my present wife, Kay, to whom I’ve been married for 30 yrs. We started a small business and sold it 15 years ago, and my second retirement began. I have 3 children still in Vancouver, 3 stepchildren, many grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

I started running at age 71. I had a serious illness and was on Prednisone for about a year. The medicine worked, but it made me gain weight. After recovery, my doctor sent me to Mike Swan for physical rehabilitation. When my insurance ran out after six weeks, Mike suggested I continue my activity and introduced me to his friend Peter Park. Peter became my trainer, and I began a twice-weekly work out routine, which we have done continuously for the last 13 years. Peter got me interested in running, one of his passions that soon became one of mine. It opened a whole new world for me. Needless to say, I dropped the 40 lbs plus another 10 and have been able to keep it off.

My BEST RACE and most memorable racing experience was entering and completing my 1st Marathon at age 76. My running pal, Ann Chadwick, suggested the San Diego Rock ‘N Roll because it was fun. As usual, she was so right! My daughter came down from BC and we ran together. What a fabulous weekend it was.

My FAVORITE LOCAL race is Pier to Peak. I have entered and completed it five times. My inspiration and the thing that kept me going was the last water station. Ann Chadwick ran with me more than once and left me with fond memories.

My WORST race was the Santa Barbara Marathon. While training, I hurt my leg and because of a few other physical limitations, which I was sure I could ignore, I pushed myself to my limit. The last 6 miles were pure hell and almost my undoing. I did finish finally with family support and sheer determination (stubbornness?).

2010 REALISTIC GOALS I would like to complete five SBAA races and continue my training with Peter.

WILDLY OPTOMISTIC run and complete 2nd year SB Marathon.

LOCAL RUNNNING HEROES AND WHY My local heroes are John Brennand for his enthusiasm and dedication, and Mike Swan and Peter Park because they are so competitive when running together. They all have done a lot for the local running community.

PERSONAL TRAINING TIPS: At my age, I have to listen to my body and pay attention to what it is telling me. I like to stick to a routine. I go to the gym twice a week for ½ hour on the treadmill and one hour with my trainer, Peter. I try to have a good attitude and find a balance between working hard in the gym and having fun. I also try to run twice a week.

WHY I RUN: I love being in our beautiful city of SB. When I walk or run, I get these old bones moving and enjoy all of the beauty around me. I’ve managed to come through some pretty hard physical challenges, and I think running has helped me enormously. It has helped me in all aspects of my life and keeps me in a healthy, positive and serene place. I’ve never thought of myself as an athlete, but I am glad that I started running. I think more senior citizens should try. There are many different levels walking, or running, or just being outside and moving. I think it’s never too late to start, at least in my case it wasn’t.

My hobby, if you could call it that, is dancing!!  I have always loved to dance.  When I was 17, I won a jitterbug contest dancing to the sounds of Glen Miller.   A favorite recent memory of dancing was just this year when my son Geordie, my step-daughter Suzanne and I were at a dance here in town.  We danced to the sounds of Beyonce and Lady Gaga.  I danced every dance until we closed the place down.

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