For decades it was deemed prudent that a heart attack victim should rest and allow the heart to recover. Then- along came Dr. John Kendall.
John Kendall is a retired physician who held a private practice in Burlington from 1963 to 2003 with privileges at Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH). An avid runner, Dr. Kendall combined his two passions - ultimately impacting the lives of hundreds of Burlington residents. His belief was that exercise, not rest – was the perfect prescription to help cardiac patients recover and lead healthy lives. It was indeed a revolutionary concept.
At the Burlington YMCA- now the Ron Edwards YMCA – Dr. Kendall co-founded the Post Cardiac Club (1967) encouraging heart attack patients to take up walking and running. And so began the journey of inspiration: to walk - to run – to become healthy – and – YES – even competitive. Deservedly, Dr. Kendall has been credited with saving countless lives in the Burlington community through his insight and innovation. Dr. Kendall attended the Post Cardiac class as supervisor three times a week from 1967 to 2003—some 4500-5000 YMCA visits.
Dr. Kendall co-founded the Burlington Runners Club (BRC) in 1973. The club attracted runners of all ages challenging them to improve their fitness level and outlook on life. The club co-ordinated a trip to the famed Boston Marathon. Seven men – including Dr. Kendall – would toe the mark at the legendary road race. George Pattison, a heart attack victim was among the “Magnificent Seven,” and made history completing the marathon on the third Monday in April, 1973 - a triumph for Dr. Kendall’s revolutionary concept.
The Burlington Runners Club organized the inaugural 15 mile Burlington Road Race. They introduced a relay component to the road race to encourage the more casual runner to get involved and it resulted in hundreds of Burlingtonians taking up running. BRC members ran locally, provincially and nationally. A number of the runners expanded their capabilities to run in marathons around the globe. The the Boston Marathon naturally became an annual event.
Dr. Kendall is an accomplished runner himself, having run numerous marathons and ultramarathons. At one time he held the Canadian Veterans record for the 100-mile distance, conquered the climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro and completed a double crossing of the Grand Canyon.
On the occasion of his 50th birthday in 1983, Dr. Kendall organized his “50 for 50” – a fundraiser for the Joseph Brant Hospital. He celebrated the milestone by running 200 laps of the Aldershot High School track. Burlingtonians joined him in his celebratory run, donating per lap to raise money for the local hospital.
Dr. Kendall’s respected expertise in running resulted in him being named Medical Director for the US Olympic Marathon Trials (1980- 84) as well as Medical Director for the Toronto Marathon (1990- 93). Highly respected locally, provincially, nationally and internationally, in 2003 Dr. Kendall was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal; appointed to the honorary staff of Joseph Brant Hospital and in 2004 was honoured with the Physicians Care Award.
For his exemplary career as a physician - who helped so many live healthy lives after the trauma of a heart attack; by stretching the boundaries of medical knowledge; founding the Burlington Runners Club and a career as a marathoner around the world:
Burlington Sports Hall of Fame proudly welcomes Dr. John Kendall into the Athlete / Builder category