This year marks the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope.
For 2020, the run will be different than previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Terry Fox Foundation adheres to social distancing regulations. The foundation has adapted by planning for a virtual run on Sept. 20, where participants are encouraged to run wherever they choose, even their own backyard.
Parksville’s Linda Wray has participated in every Terry Fox Run since its inception. Wray also volunteers for the foundation, by distributing posters, standing at the registration table and even donating apples for runners.
“I’m really going to miss the people,” said Wray. ”It’s so nice to see everybody just participate.”
This year, as with previous years, Wray will walk the route along Rathtrevor Beach and suspects other participants will complete their own runs along the same route, at their own times.
“You’ve got to be at Rathtrevor to get that experience,” she said. “It’s just so fantastic. It’s the best place to run.”
Wray has taken part since the first Terry Fox Run in 1981 and manages to complete it wherever she may be at the time. In earlier years before moving to Vancouver Island, she ran with friends in the Okanagan, Kelowna and Vernon. For the past 32 years however, she has participated exclusively in Parksville. The Terry Fox Foundation has awarded her plaques for 25 and 35 years of participation.
Wray can remember when she first learned of Fox’s passing while driving from B.C. to Manitoba. She said she had a sad feeling, all the way through the provinces.
“He’s my hero from day one,” Wray said.
Fox’s determination drives her to push herself each and every year. The year she had knee replacement surgery was the only year she finished at the five-kilometre marker instead of 10 kilometres.
As a cancer survivor herself, she wholeheartedly believes in the Terry Fox Foundation as 83 per cent of donations from the run go to cancer research.