Inspired Running Day-Terry Fox Tribute Run

I had honor of participating in the Terry Fox Tribute Run this past Saturday April 12.  Most of us Canadians are familiar with the Terry Fox Runs that take place in September that raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation.  This run is a little different in that it is not a fund-raiser, instead the organizer’s are lobbying to have April 12 named Terry Fox Day.  From their Facebook page;

“On April 12, 1980 Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean, starting on his historic Marathon of Hope. Terry called on all Canadians to carry on his dream in the event that he couldn’t finish.  Every April 12, runners from every province and territory in Canada will run 42.2 kms, carrying Terry’s flag, in honour of Terry Fox’s life and legacy. This is not a race, not a fundraiser or endorsed by the Terry Fox Foundation.”

Our running buddy Cameron was the representative from Ontario and invited Dan and I a long.  I met up with Cameron at 7am for breakfast and met Glemena, the organiser for the Ontario run.  She had planned the route so that we would start at Toronto City Hall and run north up Yonge Street to Richmond Hill and turn around at Ransom Park, where a monument to Terry Fox will be unveiled in September 2015.  I wasn’t really planning on running the whole way, but after chatting with Glemena over breakfast I decided I had to at least try.

Like many Canadians Terry Fox is a hero of mine, we learnt about his inspirational feat in school and participated in his run every year, I always thought he was “bad-ass” and would’ve wanted to meet him.  Well I got the next best thing in Glemena, she ran with Terry Fox from Toronto to Perry Sound.  I was enthralled and inspired by the stories she told us over breakfast and the pictures she had to show us of her and Terry, she is an amazing inspiration herself and I just knew I wanted to spend the rest of the day in her company.

After breakfast we met at City Hall to start the run.  Glemena and her friend Anthony would be supporting us in their truck as we ran (it was the real deal, the truck had flashing lights and signs warning of runners ahead, and lot’s of Terry Fox stickers!), it was awesome as they had a cooler full of water and snacks, and when ever we ran out of sidewalk we felt safe running in front of the truck.

Start line. Cameron, Me, Mitch, Bill, and Dan

Start line.
Cameron, Me, Mitch, Bill, and Dan

The only catch with the run is that we had to run with the Terry Fox flag at all times, which isn’t really a catch at all, until you try to run with a flag.  It’s harder than it looks.

Our group at our largest.

Our group at our largest.

Dan carried a flag for the full 15km he ran, and the rest of us took it in turns (admittedly I was lucky enough to not have to carry it all that much but the bruise on my right shoulder would argue otherwise.) It turned out to be such a fun and inspiring day.  I met other great runners, including Sam who I’d seen at some ultras but will now be hanging out with at ultras and Bill, an awesome runner who is training for his first ultra (100km!), GO BILL!!!

Corner of Yonge St and somewhere

Corner of Yonge St and somewhere.

Eventually there were only 4 of us who would get to the turn around and back, but our spirits were always high, as were our flags!

Entering Richmond Hill, I was now closer to my childhood home than I was to my adulthood home.

Entering Richmond Hill, I was now closer to my childhood home than I was to my adulthood home.

It was amazing people’s reactions to us.  We heard a lot of honking (although sometimes I think that was at the slow-moving truck in front of them), people would stop us to ask what we were running for then give us a “good job”, people would cheer and high-five us, and at one of your break stops a man bought us a case of water, how sweet.

Ransom Park, for our photo shoot.

Ransom Park, for our photo shoot.

At Ransom Park two media outlets came to take pictures and interview Glemena.

Finished! Anthony, Me, Bill, Sam, Glemena and Cameron

Finished!
Anthony, Me, Bill, Sam, Glemena and Cameron

Thanks Cameron, for inviting us along.  Thanks Glemena and Anthony, for taking care of us. Thanks to all the runners and support we received, and to Bill for passing along some pics!

I’m sad that I’ll miss out on doing this again next, but Dan and I have decided that no matter where we are next year on April 12 we are going to run a marathon and hopefully it will be Terry Fox day!

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The air, it hurts.

Why

 

That pretty sums up my winter of (very little) running.

So instead of bitching about our horrible winter, I’m going to go ahead and complain about our lousy spring.

It was team effort but I went for a 25km run on the weekend. It was the first weekend of April and it was snowing. By now we are usually in shorts, but sadly I had to dress in fleece paints, long sleeves and a jacket! Yes, headband and gloves were required.

Thankfully the snow stopped as we headed out to meet Mitch and Geoff. Sadly we hadn’t realised there was a 40km/hr wind coming from the west (its temperature making it feel well below zero) we of course had to run straight into this blustery mess for 4.5km, at one point I was actually getting blown side ways into Dan (and it wouldn’t be the only time) by a gust. By the time we met Mitch I was ready to quit, but the silver lining was that now we would head north (briefly), sweet relief!  Except there was no relief the wind was still relentless and then we turned west again. I gave up trying to wipe away the stream of water from my eyes, as we crested the hill near the entrance of High Park we noticed a large amount of runners and cleverly figured out that a local road race was on (I’m quite sure no course record were broken). Finally we met up with Geoff and headed into the Humber River park where it was still windy but after Mitch had joined us I had started drafting off the boys, now I had 3 wind breakers in front of me, things were looking up.

Hmm, now what?

Hmm, now what?

Then we discovered the “ice jam”. Dan and Mitch bravely charged on, Geoff and I being the slightly more clumsy runners tentatively started to pick our way through.

Brave Mitch

Brave Mitch

Then Mitch fell, myself and Geoff quickly retreated and bush whacked around the ice field, I was exhausted and now my feet were cold from the icy water.

Geoff and I did find this cool teepee in the woods though.  Would love to know who built it and why.

Geoff and I did find this cool teepee in the woods though. Would love to know who built it and why.

On we went, still into the wind, parts of the trail were still quite ice-covered which slowed our progress but at least we all stayed upright.

Once off the trail and onto the street we finally had our backs to the wind. And after a brief comfort stop (where I found myself hiding behind a sign to stay out of the wind) I finally started to feel good running. Like, happy and elated, I haven’t felt this in months! That is mainly because I have been wimping out and staying inside where it safe and warm, but I can’t stand the dreadmill so I now have a new appreciation for rowers.

I wasn't the only one taking shelter behind a sign.

I wasn’t the only one taking shelter behind a sign.

But now it is April and I have a 50 mile race at the end of May so I have no choice but to go out and run. As a side note I had almost signed up for 100km race that took place this past Saturday and was relieved that I didn’t when I started reading about it on Facebook, you can read our friend Alex’s account here, all I can say is that if the hunger games are mentioned in a race report than I glad I gave it a miss!

So other than a crappy run on the weekend I don’t really have much more to say, oh other than I quit my job on Monday and we are going to travel for a year starting June 1. Check it out here.