Terry Fox Run gets a new lead or­ga­nizer

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - Mark NIELSEN Cit­i­zen staff [email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

The spirit of Terry Fox will re­main alive in Prince George.

Ry­ley New­man was in­tro­duced Fri­day as the new lead or­ga­nizer for the an­nual Terry Fox Run in the city, tak­ing over from Scott McWal­ter, who has held the po­si­tion since 2014.

A com­mer­cial ac­count ex­ec­u­tive at Brown­ridge and Com­pany In­sur­ance, New­man has a back­ground in event man­age­ment and is also the event chair for the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety’s Re­lay for Life in Prince George.

“I saw a good op­por­tu­nity to carry on an on­go­ing tra­di­tion in Prince George,” New­man said dur­ing a me­dia event held in front of the Terry Fox statue.

He re­called par­tic­i­pat­ing as far back as 2003 and added the ex­hi­bi­tion on Fox and his 1980 Marathon of Hope was a source of in­spi­ra­tion when it passed through Ex­plo­ration Place.

“It was a re­minder of what it was all about and pretty awe­some to see, so when the op­por­tu­nity arose it seemed like a good fit for my­self,” New­man said.

This year’s Terry Fox Run will be held on Sept. 15. For the sec­ond year in a row, it will fol­low a five-kilo­me­tre loop along the banks of the Nechako and Fraser Rivers and start and fin­ish at Ex­plo­ration Place.

New­man isn’t plan­ning any ma­jor changes in the near term but said he will work to get more schools in­volved in the main event.

“I think this first year, I’ll kind of get my feet wet with it and see how things go,” he said. “I think there are some new ideas with dif­fer­ent lo­cal busi­nesses and ven­dors...but other than that, I’ll make sure every­body has a great time and make sure ev­ery­one learns about what Terry Fox did.”

Un­der McWal­ter, the Terry Fox Run has drawn over 1,000 par­tic­i­pants each year and more than $100,000 has been raised dur­ing his time as the lead or­ga­nizer.

McWal­ter said the high­light for him has been seeing the legacy of Terry Fox be­ing passed onto the younger gen­er­a­tion as they par­tic­i­pate in the run.

“You see their mom, dad or their grand­par­ents talk­ing to them about who Terry Fox was, and what kind of na­tional hero (he was) and what he meant to our coun­try and our prov­ince and our com­mu­nity,” McWal­ter said. “Just be­ing able to in­still all those char­ac­ter­is­tics into the next gen­er­a­tion of the courage and de­ter­mi­na­tion and just that at­ti­tude of never giv­ing up.”

It could be said that Fox’s legacy be­gan in Prince George. He used the 1979 Bos­ton to Prince George Marathon as a test run and came away con­fi­dent enough to em­bark on his across-the-na­tion odyssey nine months later.

On April 12, 1980, he dipped his leg into the At­lantic Ocean in St. John’s, Nfld. to be­gin his Marathon of Hope. But, af­ter 143 days and 5,373 kilo­me­tres, he was forced to stop his run on Sept. 1, 1980 in Thunder Bay when his pri­mary can­cer had spread to his lungs.

He died on June 28, 1981, just one month shy of his 23rd birth­day.

But his jour­ney raised $24.1 mil­lion – a dol­lar for ev­ery Cana­dian at the time. And the pace has con­tin­ued with hun­dreds of mil­lions raised since then.

New­man will do a good job of carrying on the tra­di­tion in Prince George, McWal­ter said.

“He rec­og­nizes that it’s a ton of work and re­spon­si­bil­ity and he’s ready to take it on... I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter suc­ces­sor,” he said.

• One of the event’s top fundrais­ers, Jim Ter­rion, was also on hand. Since 1991, he has raised $755,000 and aims to reach $1 mil­lion by 2024, largely by go­ing door to door in com­mu­ni­ties along High­way 16 West.

CIT­I­ZEN STAFF PHOTO

Ri­ley New­man (left) will take over from Scott McWal­ter as the lead or­ga­nizer for the Terry Fox Run in Prince George.

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