September 15, 2005

25th Anniversary of the Terry Fox Run:
Considered by some as the greatest Canadian who ever lived, Terry Fox's legacy continues to this day. The worldwide annual fundraiser is in memory of a man who ran a marathon a day for 143 days, on an artificial leg (replacing the one he lost to cancer) in an attempt to run across Canada.
His Marathon of Hope was to raise awareness and money for cancer research.
More information below:

posted by grum@work to culture at 10:23 PM - 13 comments

Sports relevance? I think running over 3000 miles in 143 days is one hell of a "sporting" achievement.

posted by grum@work at 10:24 PM on September 15

I pity the fool who questions the relevance of this link. And I dare anyone to visit or revisit the story of Terry Fox and not be awed by what a single human being can accomplish, given and idea and the drive to see something through. Terry Fox belongs on the dollar coin.

posted by chicobangs at 10:39 PM on September 15

when we first got cable tv, the terry fox story seemed to be on hbo constantly. i would watch it every chance i got (and cried my eyes out every time too.) thanks for the post grum.

posted by goddam at 10:47 PM on September 15

I saw a special bit on SportsCenter the other day about Fox, commemorating the run. I only caught bits and pieces of it though. Thanks for filling in some of the gaps, grummy.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:53 PM on September 15

I cannot believe what this guy did. A marathon a day for 143 days straight on one leg with a prosthetic limb made in the early 80s when running on them wasn't even considered in their design (hence the famous extra 'hop' in his step). When he started, no one was really paying attention - he managed to get through Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec without too much fanfare. Then people started to pay attention to a guy who was killing himself to raise money. Such fierce determination that I can't even fathom, let alone relate to. One of the most indelable images in my mind was a picture of the sock that he wore on his prosthetic during the run. Just destroyed. He is one of my pics for the greatest athletic accomplishment of all-time.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:07 AM on September 16

Wow--I am speechless-I vaguely remember this happening way back then..Terry would be about my age today. I was moved by reliving the story. The fight to end cancer has been going on for years and years. There have been so many breakthroughs but yet cancer is still a killer. Thanks for posting this grum-I have been a little "down" of late with may own journey with cancer. Readin and listening about terry fox has "relit' my pilot light to move foward.

posted by daddisamm at 09:46 AM on September 16

There is no doubt in my mind that Terry Fox is probably one of the greatest Canadians, but I've always wondered why Terry gets far, far more press than other equally deserving (based on their physical challenges & fund raising efforts) people. Two that always immediate come to mind are Steve Fonyo & Rick Hansen. They each received their fair share of press at the time, but it quickly disappeared. I predict you'll start to hear more about Rick Hansen as the 2010 Vancouver Olympics get closer, but neither of these guys get anywhere near the adoration from the public that Terry Fox gets. I'm aware that both Steve and Rick had some personal problems (some substance abuse issues & run ins with the law) after their accomplishments, but in my mind that doesn't discount what they were able to do. Just a my 2 cents.

posted by camcanuck at 10:18 AM on September 16

I remember glimpsing Terry on his run through my small community, along highway 7 in Nova Scotia --- just by chance, we drove by in the opposite direction when he was running through town. This would have been mid-May 1980, about 30 days into the marathon. I thought to myself, "where does that guy think he's going?" It wasn't much later that everybody in Canada knew.

posted by Amateur at 10:19 AM on September 16

cam - I think the big difference is that: a) Terry was first. b) He freaking died - practically in the attempt. c) Hansen and Fonyo had big press days - Terry was basically on his own for a good piece, which let the nation catch up to him. It just gives it more of the underdog feel.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:59 AM on September 16

Weedy, a) Terry was first. While Terry was first to attempt he unfortunately wasn't able to complete his trip. To contrast I have no idea who the first person was to attempt to climb Mt. Everest, but I think just about everyone knows that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to make to the top and back down. b) He freaking died - practically in the attempt. He died as a result of his cancer, not because he ran. While I'm sure you could make a good case that his run didn't help his condition, it's not what killed him. I hate to say this, but in fact his death helped solidify his legacy more because he wasn't around to tarnish it (like Steve & Rick have). Not to say he would have, by all accounts he was a great guy, but the opportunity wasn't there. ...It just gives it more of the underdog feel. This makes the most sense I guess. If there is one thing Canadian's love it's an a guy who works hard, doesn't jump up and down for attention and is an underdog. He just let his actions speak for him. Still in my mind given that he was trying to raise awareness and funds generating attention in any way possible would seem to make more sense. Hence the way Steve and Rick went about their projects. I mind all 3 of those guys are amazing indiviuals. I just think that 2 out of the 3 don't get the respect they deserve.

posted by camcanuck at 11:47 AM on September 16

when we first got cable tv, the terry fox story seemed to be on hbo constantly. Me too goddam! My first memories of cable and HBO was the terry fox special (and some movie where these people went back in time to the dinosaurs and couldn't kill the t-rex so they all went back to the future except one guy who stayed behind...and it was awesome). And excellent post grum.

posted by justgary at 01:19 PM on September 16

Yes - but it's the idea, not the event that garners the emotional response that is so evident in Terry's story. In the case of Everest - the event itself is the story - no one raising awareness or showing that the disabled can not just contribute to society, but inspire it, as is the case with Terry. There is also the unmistakable courage of a young man just beginning his life, faced with the worst news possible and deciding that these kids he saw while getting treatment had it much worse - and that he was going to do something about it. Additionally, the more we know about Terry now, the more we realize just how much he suffered making the attempt. How sick he was hundreds of miles before he stopped and how much he just wanted to have people care as much as he did. He was gruff, unpolished and frustrated. It's just the ultimate combination of all of those things that resonate. Hansen and Fonyo don't stand a chance in the face of that.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:19 PM on September 16

At this point, whatever is done to raise money for Cancer research its great. It really makes no diffence as to who is doing what---As Long as people a still working towards a cure!

posted by daddisamm at 10:25 AM on September 17

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