Marking 40 years since Terry Fox’s now legendary Marathon of Hope, organizers of the annual run in his name certainly weren’t planning on going virtual with this year’s event. That’s just how it’ll be, however, the latest adjustment required due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rather than the usual gathering of runners and walkers, participants will make their own ways over a distance of their choice on Sunday (Sept. 19). That being the case, the goal remains the same: raising awareness and money for cancer research.
Kathy Bowman has been involved in the Elmira run for 20 years. In 2010, she became heavily involved assisting Judy Beeman in the operations of local events and then took over completely as coordinator the following year.
Despite all her experience, she says she has no idea what to expect in the way of a turnout this time around, noting there’s no way of tracking participation as there’s no central starting point. That also means there’s no opportunity for other activities to bring people out to the event.
“It’s a little hard for us this year because we’ve always had a penny raffle and a barbecue drawing people out, and we don’t get to do either this year. So, it’s going to make it more difficult,” said Bowman.
The theme of this year’s run is ‘One day, your way,’ meaning people have the option to chose when in the day to walk as well as the distance of their treks: 1K, 5K or 10K. The option also exists to run, board or bicycle.
Rather than the usual start at the Programmed Insurance Brokers office in Elmira, there’ll be people doing their own things. Tallying participation rates will be difficult, she said. The change means there’s little for organizers to do.
“We’re not putting up any signs, like any markers or anything.”
Bowman and her family will be walking in Linwood, a five-kilometre walk towards Crosshill and then five kilometres back. As with many participants, they’ve had personal experience dealing with cancer.
“Cancer has affected us greatly,” she said, noting she recently lost her father-in-law to the disease. “He was doing – or he had [been doing] – one of the treatment options … a drug protocol that the Terry Fox Foundation has worked on and it became a protocol that is now used widely as a drug of choice for chemotherapy now for multiple melanoma. We were really excited to know that [the thing] that we all raise funds for …had been approved [by the government].”
Most of this year’s donations will be accepted online at the Terry Fox Foundation’s website. To support the local chapter, search for run number 506. Registration is now open for event this Sunday.
In a statement recognizing the changes this year, Terry’s brother Fred Fox said “40 years after the Marathon of Hope, in a year where we are all learning to live life differently, there is only one way forward for Terry Foxers: we all have to try.”