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.”