Sunday, September 13, 2009

London's annual Terry Fox Run

Terry Fox first appeared in London, Ontario, on July 17, 1980, running down Dundas Street on his Marathon of Hope. The street was lined with thousands of adoring Londoners. Less than a year later, Terry passed away at age 22, taken by an aggressive form of cancer.

But Terry was back Sunday. Terry knew before his death that there would be annual Terry Fox Runs in communities right across Canada. He chose September for the events as this was the month he was forced to end his run; Terry stopped but Canadians started.

Many thousands turn out every year to participate in Terry Fox Runs. London is no exception.

London Terry Fox committee member Paul Cox said in The London Free Press that local donors gave $365,000 in 2008, $1 for every Londoner. That total includes money raised by area schools and the University of Western Ontario.

Organizers hope the main community run this year will raise about $150,000, pushing the total collected since the London event began to $2.5 million.

Runners gathered Sunday at Springbank Gardens, formerly Wonderland Gardens, and ran, walked, biked, or skateboarded around either a two km loop or a five km loop. Some groups ran the five km course twice, and others made three loops to complete a run of 15 km --- almost ten miles.

Families ran the course together, single runners ran the course to meet their own personal goals, mothers and fathers covered the distance pushing strollers. Much of the course was run on London's Terry Fox Parkway. Very fitting.

Terry Fox would be proud of us. And us? We're proud of Terry Fox — a true Canadian hero.

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