If her brother, Glenn, had never found an old wooden bow in a ditch, Wanda Allan Parsons would never have found the success she had in the sport of archery. The old Woolco is where they bought the families’ first wooden arrows and she and her brothers practised hitting targets in their back field.
Her brother learned of an archery club called the Seaview Archers and joined the club. The young Wanda yearned to compete as she watched her brothers come back from tournaments with their new fiber glass bows and arrows. When she was 10 years old, she asked if she could shoot and received a new bow with four arrows on her 11th birthday.
“I then started going with my two brothers to club night shooting”, says Wanda. “I was the only kid in the club and I had such great fun with the adults always teasing me.”
Her competitive spirit soon formed and, as she was the only junior, she started to shoot with the bare bow ladies. At the age of 13, she competed against the adults in the Vancouver Island outdoor championships and won. Her first Canadian Championships was in 1969 where she had to compete with the boys as she was the only girl.
“I was told in order to win the trophy I would have to come within 60% of the record,” she says. She did that and more as she set all new records for bare bow girls. She went on to win the next three junior girls titles - the first two at bare bow and then freestyle.
Wanda’s first national team trial was for the 1972 Munich Olympics where she placed fourth; they only took the top three. In 1973, she competed at the trials for the World Championships in France where she placed second and made the team. She was selected to two other World Championships teams, 1975 Switzerland and 1977 Australia, and was selected for two Olympic Games - Montreal in 1976 and Los Angeles in 1984.
“At the Montreal Olympics Opening Ceremony we were all in awe of the crowd and the cheering of the people in the stands,” she continues. “All I can say is the noise was so loud it was unbelievable. The Queen was in the stands somewhere but I didn’t see her until later. I was so busy looking at everything.”
At the 1976 Olympics she met Nadia Comaneci, who scored the perfect 10 in gymnastics, and at the L.A. Olympics she watched Canadian swimmers Victor Davis and Alex Baumann win their gold medals.
Wanda credits her success to her oldest brother, Cliff, who bought her equipment, drove her across the country for tournaments and was actually her very first coach. “My archery career took me across Canada and the United States many times and to many different countries. I also met many great and wonderful people, something I will never forget.”
At 87 years young, Maurice Tarrant is the epitome of a “running legend.”
Maurice credits his fitness foundation to growing up in the seaside town of Paignton, Devon, England. At 10, he’d run home from school to do his paper route and by 14, he learned the gas fitting trade, a job which involved cycling for miles with equipment in hand! By 16, Maurice had joined the Paignton Rugby and Rowing clubs and a couple years later, at a local dance on the seafront, he met the love of his life, Phyllis. They eventually had to postpone their wedding date so Maurice and his coxed fours to compete in, and win, the junior championship of Great Britain!
Maurice joined the RAF at age 21 as an engine mechanic and ran his first race near his station. By 1956, he represented Devon in the three and six mile events in the British Games at White City Stadium, London. The following year, Maurice and Phyllis moved to Canada and he became the Quebec three mile champion before they settled in Ottawa to raise their growing family.
Tired of long cold winters, they moved to Victoria in 1981 and Maurice, then in his mid- 50’s, rediscovered running. He ran every lunchtime from his property management job at BCSC and also joined the Prairie Inn Harriers (PIH). With the club’s “Mellow Fellows,” Maurice competed in long-distance relay races, including the Haney to Harrison, Jasper to Banff and Skagway to Whitehorse events.
Over the years, Maurice has set a staggering 65 Canadian age class records, 10 world single age records, completed over 200 Island Series races, and eight marathons. He has achieved unparalleled success with the Harriers in the form of awards, accolades and friendships. The PIH bestowed the Alex Marshall Master of the Year Award upon their ‘master of the road’ a record eight times. In 2004 the club named a perpetual trophy the Maurice Tarrant Veteran of the Year Award, citing him as the “greatest master runner in the history of the Prairie Inn Harriers”.
In 2005 Maurice was inducted into the Frontrunners Walk of Fame. In 2007, he received the Harriers Lifetime Membership Award and in 2010, he was awarded the Gunner Shaw MVP trophy, the Victoria Run Series perpetual Maurice Tarrant Performance Award and the B.C. Athletics Master Road Race Award. In 2010, Maurice was inducted into the Canadian Masters Athletic Association Hall of Fame and in 2014, he received a unique Harriers award - Members Choice for High Achievement - as a “tribute to recognize his phenomenal performances on a local, provincial, national and world stage.”
Maurice is a generous, humble and inspirational gentleman who treasures his family and friends. He was married to his beloved wife Phyllis for 63 glorious years and has five children and 10 grandchildren. He currently trains with his middle daughter Claire, and says they are proud to dedicate their accomplishments to “our angel Phyllis, beloved wife, Mum and Nana.”