It was a bright and cloudy Sunday morning at Carrot Park in Port Hardy, which turned out to be perfect weather for the annual Terry Fox Run.
Roughly 35-40 participants came out to help support the run, which was organized for the third year in a row by Port Hardy councillor Janet Dorward.
Dorward said last year was strictly a virtual run due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year however, they were able to open it up to both a virtual and an in-person run, and she noted she was excited about it because “the energy when you’re with other people is unbeatable.”
She added Terry Fox is a “true Canadian hero and I’m just proud to carry on his legacy.”
Dorward then acknowledged all the volunteers and businesses that help make the event happen every year.
Port Hardy mayor Dennis Dugas was also on hand for the event, giving a touching speech about Fox and what he means to Canadian culture.
“41 years ago Terry started something very wonderful for Canada,” he said, noting that what Fox did in 143 days, running a marathon every single day, “is amazing, and unfortunately it ended too soon — but his dream, the Marathon of Hope, has continued on for 41 years because of people in our communities across Canada that volunteer their time.”
After a brisk warmup by Sharon Whitehead, the run officially started at 10:00 a.m.
Jennifer Falardeau-Dugas came flying out of the gate at the start of the run, and she ended up being the first person to cross the finish line (5k run) with a time of 27 minutes and 10 seconds.
Fox, who had previously lost his leg due to cancer, died in 1981 at the age of 22.
It was back in 1980 that he embarked on the cross-Canada ‘Marathon of Hope’ fundraiser in St. John’s, NL, running what amounted to a daily marathon on a prosthetic leg.
He made it past Thunder Bay before being forced by ill health to stop.
Since his death, millions of Canadians have paid symbolic tribute to his efforts through an annual fundraising run held on the second Sunday after Labour Day.
– with files from Black Press