The image of Terry Fox running along lonely roads in Canada during the 143 days he lasted on his Marathon of Hope fails to convey the full picture of that historic effort.
That is partly because the road was not so lonely. There were thousands of Canadians lining those roads cheering him on and taking inspiration from his example. And running with him. And still running today.
It was in September Fox recognized he would not be able to complete his marathon, so he left it to Canadians, who had kept him going day after day. He learned before his death from cancer there would be annual Terry Fox Runs in cities, towns, hamlets and villages across the country.
Almost 30 years later, Canadians are still organizing Fox’s run to find a cure for all cancers, with an enthusiasm and passion that has likely done him proud.
The Terry Fox Run began in 1981 as a volunteer-led event with no corporate sponsorship, incentives or fundraising minimums. And it keeps going and going.
It has become a fall tradition in Canada to gather friends and family, lace on the shoes, bring in pledge sheets and run It is an event where organizers have no budget for expenses but have unlimited appreciation for attendance.
It is not just Canadians, either, any more. Visit a Terry Fox website and see the number of countries that host similar runs at various times of the year.
The annual event in Canada is usually hosted on the second Sunday after Labour Day.
In Wellington County and the surrounding area, organizers are already geared up and ready to document the runners and their pledges. To find a local run, visit the Fox website at www.terryfox.org, go to Find a Run Site, choose Ontario and scroll through for a nearby home town.
For each community there is a pledge sheet, a donation space and a place to learn about routes and whether they are user friendly for such things as rollerblading and wheelchairs, as well as running and walking.
The local runs are all on Sept. 13 and they include:
– Arthur, at the Optimist Pavilion, from 1:30 to 4:30pm;
– Drayton, register 12:30 to 1:25pm, run at 1:30pm, at the old arena at the fairgrounds;
– Erin, 9am to 1pm, at the Optimist tent on the east side of Centre 2000;
– Fergus, the Forfar Ball Diamond (off Gartshore Street), starting at 10am;
– Grand Valley, at the community centre, 10am to 1:30pm;
– Guelph, 8am to noon, at Silvercreek Park at Edinburgh Road and Wellington Drive;
– Listowel, register at noon and run at 1pm, from the Agricultural Hall;
– Mount Forest, 9am to 2pm, at the Sports complex;
– Palmerston, starting at the firehall, from 9am to 1pm; and
– Rockwood, Waterside Park, from noon to 2pm.