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  • Arlee Grimsley

Remembering Tom Cooper ~ 03.05.53 - 04.04.19


To the running world of the 80s and 90s, Tom Cooper was known as “Cooper” or “Coop”. His history of running goes back to the beginning of the Springfield Road Runners Club. He served as President of the club, directed many races, scored races and volunteered. Cooper was always thinking of ways to improve races, timing methods, scoring and helping the club. He said many times he could not have done all of this without his wife Helen.

Cooper also ran with a group of women throughout the years--Rose Conklin, Robin Powers, Marge Nicholson, Arlee Grimsley, Katie Tice, Laura Williams, Shelley Muller, Kathy Wides, Patty Shafer, Angie Alleio and countless others. He trained all of us to be the best we could be. I think the reason we became faster was that Cooper sweat so bad we wanted to stay ahead of him. Or, it could have been his threat of mooning us if he got ahead of us.

If you go back to old age group winners, you will find many of these names on top. He also had hill workouts in Oak Ridge and Washington Park that he always said would put hair on your chest. There were many Tuesday noon track workouts at Springfield High School where we had to climb the fence or crawl under. He also loved speed work in Washington Park, and on tempo runs at the IDOT trail--he yelled at us when we passed him in the final 100 yards.

Cooper was a believer that every runner should know what it takes to put on a race. He also said you compete against yourself not others. You always look to the next race to be better than your last race. Tom’s race scoring program had the ability to print a certificate with the racer’s time and the racer’s prior times in that race. Tom and Helen went to cross country meets, track meets, triathlons and Cardinal games. Aside from running Tom loved his wife Helen, son Shane and daughter Windy and his three grandchildren. Tom will be missed by so many.


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