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

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!