Claire Scott, left, and Adana Backe take part in a group warmup exercise prior to the start of Parksville’s Terry Fox Run at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park Sunday morning, Sept. 17, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

VIDEO: Parksville’s Terry Fox Run raises more than $8,800

Rathtrevor Beach Park event draws more than 370 on blustery day

Terry Fox may have had to cut short his original Marathon of Hope, but Canadians continue to pick up where he left off.

More than 370 participants and volunteers flooded Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park Sunday morning for the annual Terry Fox Run to benefit cancer research and treatment. By the time they finished running, walking or biking the park’s trails and roadways, they had raised more than $8,800 for the cause.

“There may be more online; there may be more donations coming in,” said Chrissie Finnie of the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Recreation and Parks department, which hosted the run.

The Terry Fox Run, one of a number held nationwide as Canada continued to pay tribute to one of its icons, drew runners, walkers and bikers of all ages. Many parents ran or biked with children, or pushed them in strollers. In addition, youths from several local sports teams or organizations turned the run into a team-bonding workout, including Oceanside Youth Soccer, the Ravensong Breakers swim team and the Ravensong Waterdancers synchronized swimming club.

In addition, the Oceanside Generals junior hockey team turned out en masse to volunteer as course monitors or run the course.

The event began under cool, overcast skies, prompting Finnie to say conditions were ideal for runners. A half-hour later, she was congratulating them on their dedication after a mid-run squall brought rain showers and wind and chased much of the post-run gathering under one of the park’s covered picnic shelters.

Fox, a cancer victim whose disease led to the amputation of his right leg, attempted to run across Canada beginning in 1980, to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer. His quest ended outside Thunder Bay, Ont., when his cancer returned and spread to his lungs. He died in 1981, at the age of 22.

The Terry Fox run has been held every September since, with events having taken place in 60 countries. More than $650 millon has been raised in that time, according to the Terry Fox Foundation.

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Members of the Ravensong Breakers swim club celebrate finishing the Terry Fox Run Sunday. From left, front row, are Simon Mbobela, Benjamin Mbobela, Logan Rogers, Jakob Mbobela and Chloe Rogers. Back row, Jack Confortin, Alex Roberts and Ben Roberts. — J.R. Rardon photo