This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first Terry Fox Run, and while the run is going ahead on Sept. 20, this year’s edition will look very different from the group events of the past.
“This year it’s an individual run,” says Vivian McLean, the organizer of this year’s Ashcroft run. “The idea is that because cancer never stops, neither can the event, so we’re being a bit more open this year with all the options. The idea is just to get people out and moving and visible.”
In the past, participants in the Ashcroft Terry Fox Run could run, walk, or bike a fixed route of 2.5km, 5km, or 10km that began and ended at the Heritage Park on Railway. This year, in addition to running, walking, or biking, participants can choose to skateboard, hike, or be active in any other way they choose. They can also choose whatever distance and location they like, whether it’s around the block, in their neighbourhood, or even in their own back yard.
The Terry Fox Foundation, which oversees the annual run, was set up in the wake of Fox’s bid to run across Canada from Newfoundland to B.C. to raise awareness of, and funds for, cancer research. His Marathon of Hope began on April 1, 1980, and ended 3,339 miles (5,374km) later on Sept. 1, 1980, when the 22-year-old learned that his cancer had returned. He died on June 28, 1981.
The first Terry Fox Run was held on Sept. 13, 1981. Fox’s Marathon of Hope goal was to raise $26 million (one dollar for every Canadian as of 1980). As of January 2018, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $750 million for cancer research.
Participants can collect pledges, make a donation, or do both. McLean says that pledge sheets for this year’s run can be downloaded from the www.terryfox.org website.
“We realize it’s a difficult year for many, but it’s such an important event and brings so much awareness,” says McLean. “Lots of people have great memories of the Terry Fox Run.”
Anyone who collects pledges can drop them off with their form at the Ashcroft HUB after the run on Sept. 20. Anyone who wants to donate can do so by visiting the Ashcroft run’s website at https://bit.ly/32saUGc, where participants from around the region can also register.
“We’re in an area with lots of different communities, and not all of them have a designated run, so people from Clinton, Logan Lake, Cache Creek, and Spences Bridge can sign up here. We represent more than just Ashcroft.
“Merritt and 100 Mile House are also designated run sites, and there’s a map on the website where you can see all the designated run sites and see who has signed up. We already have 11 people signed up, and we’re hoping we can get lots of people involved. COVID-19 shouldn’t stop such an important event from happening.”
McLean says she ended up organizing this year’s run because of her work with the HUB. “Over the summer I had a contract as program coordinatyor with the HUB, and one of the roles I took on was organizing the Terry Fox Run, so I designated myself the official organiser. My summer contract has ended, but because I care enough about the movement I decided to stick with it, even though I’m no longer technically working with the HUB.”
She adds that people can purchase unisex T-shirts commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Terry Fox Run. They are available at the HUB in a one-size version for youth ($15), and in sizes small to XXL for adults ($20), but McLean notes that there are limited quantities available at the site.
“The motto for this year’s run is ‘One Day. Your Way’,” says McLean. “Participate in any way you can and whatever magnitude you can. Get out their and move, remember the legacy of Terry Fox, honour it, and donate to the Terry Fox Foundation.”
Anyone with questions, or who would like to sign up, can go to the Ashcroft run website or email the HUB at email@example.com.