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