Partner, Galloway Botteselle & Company
This profile was originally published in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of CPABC in Focus magazine.
Profile by David Ferman
There’s only one trace of colour on the walls of Brian Blamey’s office: a framed lithograph of the Miracle Mile. The artist has captured the iconic moment at Vancouver’s British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954, when John Landy, in the lead, takes a last desperate glance to his inside only to find... nothing. Nothing, because at that very instant, his soon-to-be eternal archrival Roger Bannister is passing him on the outside.
The image is fleeting and timeless, heroic and tragic. And though that race came a quarter century before his own running prime, it still resonates with Brian.
“Track and field was my life,” says Brian, 56, a partner with Galloway Botteselle & Company, who retains the trim frame of a man who regularly bikes to work and cycles 150-km mountain stages as part of his vacations.
“Are we good at what we love, or do we enjoy it because we find success? I don’t know,” he says, “but I loved running.”
Brian found track while attending Victoria’s Glenlyon prep school, and was soon competing at the national level in the 3,000 metres, 5,000 metres, and steeplechase—a torturous middle-distance scramble made treacherous by hurdles, water jumps and jostling competitors.
Running took Brian through math at the University of Victoria and his bachelor’s in arts (accounting) at Simon Fraser University. He joined Galloway Botteselle, one of the oldest and largest CGA firms in BC, in 1984, and earned his designation two years later. He made partner in 1994, and today oversees more than 200 corporate clients and roughly 600 personal clients.
Like his tenure with Galloway, many of the friendships he made on the track are still going strong. Not that there haven’t been adjustments on account of age.
“We turned to the dark side,” is how Brian describes the switch he and his friends made from spikes to bikes.
“In 2009, we rode one of the Tour de France’s stages, called “l’etape du tour,” he recounts [amateur cyclists cover the very same ground as the racers for one day]. “There were 20 of us, along with more than 10,000 other riders. It was deadly hot, with endless climbs, but it was an unforgettable experience.”
Far less romantic was his ride in the 2012 GranFondo Whistler, a 122-km “jaunt” from Vancouver to Whistler. Knocked off his bike just past Horseshoe Bay, Brian broke a rib, fractured his pelvis, and tore his meniscus (so much for cycling being easier on the knees). After getting back in the saddle, he made it just short of the finish before seizing up.
Undaunted by the experience, Brian raced in the French Alps this past summer, with wife Rose driving alongside in his support car.
And though he no longer competes in track, Brian has found a way back to his first sporting love. He volunteers as treasurer of the board of the Achilles International Track and Field Society, which organizes the annual Harry Jerome International Track Classic, and provides coaching to students at inner city Vancouver schools.
“It’s really neat for these kids to see their times improve significantly with some coaching,” he says.
“Our hope is to bring new athletes to the sport. In the society, we call it ‘seeking Harry’—we’re seeking the next Harry Jerome. Or maybe the next Harriet...”