In 1976, when coach John Prall needed someone to run in the distance events for the Berwick High School Track and Field Team, he convinced a skinny grade 10 student named Bob Book to give it a try. Thus, a running star was born. Almost immediately Bob showed great promise by going undefeated in his events that first season. The next year while a student at West Kings District, and under the training and tutelage of coach Clary Laing,
Bob became a dominant distance runner on the Nova Scotia High school scene. He placed 2nd individually in the provincial High school championships in both Grades 11 and 12 and led his team to the Provincial cross-country championships in both years. During Track and Field season, he went undefeated in high school competition in the middle distance events – including 880 yards, the mile and 3 mile events during these last two years of school competition. During this time Bob established a provincial record in the 3 mile distance which lasted for many years. In 1969, even though he was still a high school student, Bob was selected to be part of the Nova Scotia Track and Field team at the first Canada Summer Games held in Halifax-Dartmouth. For these achievements, Bob was elected Male Athlete of the Year at West Kings District during his graduation year.
Following high school, Bob went on to star at Dalhousie University in both Track and Field and cross-country running. Among his collegiate accomplishments were two AUAA team cross-country championships, a 7th and 10th placing at the CIAU(National) cross-country championships, winner of numerous AUAA Track and Field events and selection to the CIAU All-Canadian team in 1973/74. As a culmination to his extraordinary collegiate record, he was named Male Athlete of the Year at Dalhousie 1973/74.
Bob’s tremendous string of running accomplishments extended well beyond collegiate competition. He was the Nova Scotia distance running champion from 1971 – 1974 including being undefeated in road-racing for two of those years. During this time, he was a 4-time winner and record holder of the prestigious Halifax Natal Day Road Race, finished 5th in the 1971 Canadian Junior cross-country championships, placed 2nd at the Eastern Canadian 10 mile championship, broke the 35 year-old Nova Scotia record for 10 miles, and represented Nova Scotia numerous times at the national championships.
Following his graduation from university, Bob continued his association with Track and Field and running as a coach, official and administrator and has an impressive list of career accomplishments:
- Coach of the 1977-79 Dalhousie University Track and Field and cross-country teams (4 AUAA team championships, one 3rd place team finish at CIAU)
- 1979-1988 Executive Director of Nova Scotia Track and Field Association
- 1981 Nova Scotia Team Manager – Canada Summer Games
- 1985 Canada Games – Chief Track and Field Official
- Chef de Mission – Nova Scotia Canada Games Team in 1991, 1993 and 1995
- 1995 Graduate of Canadian Olympic Academy; Level IV Official in Track and Field
Inducted June 2000