September 26, 2023

The 75-year-old pioneer of sports activities drugs is one among seven hard-charging seniors being acknowledged Saturday with a ‘7 Over 70’ Award.

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For 2 hours each morning, you will discover Dr. Jack Taunton clutching trekking poles and hauling it down Salish Sea Drive in Tsawwassen.

The 75-year-old pioneer of sports activities drugs is one among seven hard-charging seniors being acknowledged Saturday with a “7 Over 70 Award” honouring “older individuals who proceed to spend their lives taking up new initiatives, enterprise, and philanthropic endeavours.”

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The honour comes at a time when Taunton, who spent 40 years as a doctor, researcher and educator on the College of B.C., is battling bladder most cancers.

“I don’t have any energy, or little or no, on my proper aspect,” Taunton stated. “It’s as a result of the immunotherapy drug I’ve been taking to cease the unfold of most cancers from my bladder additionally assaults my nerves.”

However the Delta resident isn’t any stranger to adversity.

Jack Taunton
Solar Run founder Dr. Jack Taunton with three-time girls’s elite race winner Lynn Kanuka. Photograph by Fred Lee /PNG

His love for sports activities was born from a drive to beat bodily limitations as a baby. At age 6, he contracted polio, leading to paralysis of his proper arm and leg. After he recovered from that illness, a automobile struck him whereas he was on a motorcycle journey, fracturing his foot and leg.

“I couldn’t do any sports activities till I used to be 14,” Taunton stated. “Once I obtained out of my forged, I went loopy. I performed soccer, soccer, after which I began working. Finally, I used to be competing in marathons.”

Taunton grew to become a nationally ranked marathoner, finishing 60 races with a private finest of two:25:29. He did this whereas attending UBC medical college, the place he later grew to become a professor and developed a medical observe in sports activities drugs.

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In 1971, he began Canada’s first road-running membership, the Lions Gate Street Runners, alongside fellow UBC doctor Doug Clement. The pair organized native races that might ultimately develop to turn out to be the BMO Vancouver Marathon and the Vancouver Solar Run.

Taunton additionally co-founded SportMedBC, a company that facilitates Solar Run coaching clinics. “We see individuals go from strolling to working 10K in a span of 13 weeks and simply reaping the advantages,” he stated.

Final April, the doctor got here out of self-isolation to guide the Solar Run alongside Clement, because the pair has performed for 3 many years now.

“It was the primary occasion I used to be allowed to go to due to the chemotherapy I used to be on,” Taunton stated.

The physician stated that was seemingly the final race he would ever run.

“I can’t take any probabilities now as a result of my bones are brittle, and if I fall I might seemingly break a hip or a knee. I’ve already misplaced 9 enamel,” he stated. “I’m not capable of preserve stability.”

Jack Taunton
Dr. Jack Taunton, 2009 Photograph by invoice keay /vancouver solar

However Taunton stated he has no plans to give up exercising. He’s encouraging others, particularly individuals his age, to do the identical.

“Common train reduces your threat of coronary heart illness, most cancers, stroke, and hypertension. It provides to the standard and longevity of your life,” stated Taunton, noting the greater than 200,000 kilometres he has run over time.

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He stated day by day 24-kilometre walks along with his spouse, Cheryl, helped him recuperate from coronary heart surgical procedure a few years in the past and allowed him to go on to work because the chief medical lead of the Canadian group on the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Taunton has led Canada’s medical group at seven different Olympic Video games, together with the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

In 2016, he helped discovered a sports activities drugs clinic in Uganda.

Whereas the doctor is not capable of cycle or run, he stated his mission to encourage others continues within the strolling he does each morning round Delta.

“Combining train and chemotherapy, oh god, you’re feeling simply horrible. However I do know if I wish to enhance my most cancers prognosis I’ve obtained to proceed exercising on daily basis,” he stated.

“As we speak on my stroll, I had two cyclists cease and speak to me. One among them thanked me and stated: ‘I see you out right here on daily basis and it motivates me.’ I believe that’s my goal proper now.”

The 7 over 70 awards are sponsored by KinVillage, a non-profit affiliation that gives a variety of housing, in addition to well being and wellness packages, for seniors in Delta.

“There are awards that acknowledge youthful individuals however not that many who honour older adults for the work they do after 70,” stated Dan Levitt, CEO of KinVillage, in a press release.

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Along with Taunton, Saturday’s gala will acknowledge Carlene Lewall, a long-time gymnastics coach; Peter Guichon, a fourth-generation farmer who drove developments in agriculture; Avis Glaze, a global educator; Bruno Marti, a chef who has offered mentorship in the culinary business; Leslie Abramson, a enterprise proprietor and long-time volunteer; and Invoice Wilms, a broadcaster who has shared his love of golf. 

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