Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1923 ..
That the Assembly do now adjourn.
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.12): Mr Speaker, I take this opportunity to speak to celebrate the life of one of Canberra's and the district's best and most popular athletes, Chris Cook, who died while representing the ACT in a national running competition in Brisbane last weekend. Chris was an ACT representative in the Australian national mountain running championships in Brisbane last weekend. Chris was the 1997 Australian national champion mountain runner, and he was hoping in Brisbane last Saturday to regain the title that he had won a couple of years ago. He was a pioneer of mountain running in Australia and had competed in all national events over the last few years.
Chris Cook, who was known to all his very many friends as "Cookie", was a long-time resident of Queanbeyan. He was a very successful and popular member of the Canberra running fraternity for the last 20 years or so. Chris was a friendly and very successful runner and in his time won many, if not most, of the local runs in the Canberra community. He was a regular, if not one of the most regular, competitors in fun runs, and it is quite ironic that only the week before last Chris won the Terry Fox Fun Run, which is conducted annually by the Canadian High Commission. The week after winning the Terry Fox Fun Run, Chris travelled to Brisbane to represent the ACT in the national mountain running championships. It is unfortunate that Chris, who had complained of not feeling well before the race commenced, collapsed a couple of kilometres into the race and died.
As a younger runner, Chris specialised in the 3,000-metre steeplechase and became an expert in, and a proponent of, the steeplechase. He was at that time in the top two or three steeplechase runners in Australia and regularly represented the ACT nationally in that particular event.
Chris had a very distinctive running style. He had a very high knee lift and a bouncy style and was easily distinguished by all of those of us who are part of the running fraternity here in Canberra. He was always friendly and incredibly popular. He had a special, down-to-earth and very unassuming, self-deprecating quality that endeared him to everybody who knew him.
As I mentioned, Chris died last weekend in the national mountain running championships, at the age of 40. He will be a great loss to all of his friends and to his family. He is survived by his wife, Emily, and children, Heide and Daniel. He was a wonderful family man, and he was a very good friend of mine. He will be missed by everybody associated with athletics in the ACT.