The excitement of the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games sparked in Bruce a deep desire to succeed in sport. He recalls that he “was one of the shortest kids in my school and really uncoordinated. I was the kid who rushed for the outfield in gym class because I knew that no one could hit the ball that far and so I wouldn’t embarrass myself. I was not an athlete. In fact, if they had a vote in my school for the least likely to ever be an Olympian, I would have voted for myself.” Being one of the smallest kids in his class, there were few obvious sports at which he could succeed. All of that changed when he was introduced to long distance running while at summer camp.
By the time he was 13, he had completed two marathons, and his early start launched a winning high school track career. He attended and competed at the University of Western Ontario from 1985 to 1989, before moving west to attend teacher training at Simon Fraser University. He has resided in BC ever since, and in Victoria since 1996. It was after his move to BC, that his running took off and he qualified for his first national team.
Bruce’s international accomplishments as a marathoner include representing Canada at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, the IAAF World Athletics Championships (1995, 1997, 1999, 2001), the Commonwealth Games (1994), and the 2003 Pan American Games where he won a silver medal. He was a frequent winner of local races such as the Times Colonist 10k and various events at the Victoria Marathon. In addition, he was the first three-time winner of the California International Marathon, and the last Canadian to win the National Capital Marathon. As a masters athlete, he won the New York City Marathon and placed second at the Boston Marathon.
A further level of significance in Bruce’s accomplishments was his appointment to lead the Western office of the Canadian Olympic Committee in Vancouver. Under his guidance the office took care of all of the COC’s education program and community relations west of Toronto. Bruce’s primary responsibility was the Canadian Olympic School Program, which provided Olympic-themed classroom activities for close to one million students.
Since retiring from international competition, Bruce has held various roles within the Provincial Government. He has made valued contributions to the Canadian sports system including his work with Athletics Canada, BC Athletics, BC Athlete Voice, Olympians Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee. He currently coaches young runners, some of whom have qualified to compete on national and provincial teams.
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