It is the objective of the Waterloo Running Series to offer fun, safe and healthy events for runners, joggers, walkers and families of all ages and abilities while promoting community responsibility to local charitable and non-profit organizations and their causes.
Since 1998, thousands have participated in the Waterloo Running Series with over $1 million being donated back to our community. We offer an opportunity for fitness, friendship, and family fun, and hope you will join us.
Waterloo Running Series
My name is Daniel Cook. I am 26 years old and work as a mental health nurse at Grand River Hospital. My journey into running has been a long and hard trip. Only 4 short years ago I used to weigh an astonishing 375 pounds.
My whole life I was big. I was always the last kid picked for sports, and always felt ashamed of my body and of myself. Growing up big was hard. When you’re a kid you get picked on, and being a teenager, becoming anything more than a friend to girls seemed impossible. It seems illogical but I fell into the vicious cycle of eating because I felt bad, and I felt bad because I ate. One vivid memory I have was being forced to do the 200km dash in Grade 5 and all the other kids were done the race, and I was only half way. It was so embarrassing that I literally threw myself to the ground and faked a knee injury so that I didn’t have to finish with everyone watching me.
In 2010, I had the scariest moment of my life. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I was already working as a nurse for a year, and had seen some of the complications of people with uncontrolled diabetes: gangrenous legs, amputations, horrific foot wounds, and people in kidney failure. It was the wake-up call I needed. I decided I was not going to sit back and die slowly, so I got out of my apartment and went for a walk.
I remember how good I felt that day, almost euphoric. My blood sugars went down quite a bit from such a short walk, and I felt like I had a new chance to get my life back. The next day, I did it again, and then the next day, and then the next. I walked every single day for a minimum of an hour for at least half a year, and had lost, at that point, 75 pounds!
I was also taking my time to learn about proper eating habits: gone were the sugars and simple carbohydrates, and in were portion control, and good complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Eventually I went to the gym and kept up my routine: going on the treadmill, and using a heart rate monitor to gauge the intensity of the incline I should use.
Time went on, and eventually I needed to increase my speed to get my heart rate up. Low and behold, I was running! Long distances too! I had lost nearly 145 pounds at that point. I decided to keep running and lose more weight, so I signed up for the Toronto Half Marathon, and finished in a whopping 1 hour 45 minutes.
On that day I weighed 185 pounds, so I had lost 190 pounds altogether! I raced later that year in the Waterloo 10km Classic (my father ran in the very first 10k Classic). I placed third in the 180-200 pound men’s weight division. It was the first time I had ever gotten a medal for any athletic achievement, and it was such a special moment to me.
That feeling of taking PRIDE in yourself in who you are, and what you can do–that’s why I run. That’s why I will continue to run. I hope to see you all at the great Waterloo Running Series events this year!
- A $100 donation gets you a free race entry
- A $40 race entry fee gets you into most races
- Last year, over 7,000 people ran races in the Waterloo Running Series
There are many opportunities for runners, volunteers and donors to get involved with any race. Please see our website for more details.