Runner participation honours Fox’s legacy
Peter Bates stood at the starting line on the Windsor waterfront Sunday, primed and ready to begin his 28th consecutive Terry Fox Run, pushing the total amount of pledges he has secured for cancer research over those years beyond the $21,000 mark.
The 52-year-old Windsor resident, who has been taking part since the run’s inception, just shrugs when asked about his dedication to the cause.
“If Terry Fox can run 26 miles every day,” he reasoned, “then I can do 10 kilometres a year. I just feel I’ve got to do my part.”
Bates added he was also personally motivated. There’s a family history of cancer on his wife’s side and his brother is currently battling the disease. He said he has always felt connected to Fox and his cause and that his concern and commitment has not dampened since he was first inspired by those news reports of the Marathon of Hope.
He was one of a few hundred who came to Assumption Park to begin a run that took them along the riverfront parkways. Organizer Marian Drouillard acknowledged that the turnout has not been as high in the three years since the race was was reintroduced following a hiatus since 2001.
But, she added, the numbers have gone up each year. In 2007, she noted, only about 100 participants took part. She expected several times that number, despite the threatening weather reports.
“I would be happy to hit the $5,000 mark in pledges,” she said, “but I think we’ll get more.... This year I think we had more effective communication and Terry Fox is a Canadian icon.”
Another runner, and organizer, who was proud to take part was Windsorite Greg Rumpel.
“I lost my parents to cancer about six years ago,” he said. “I chose to get back into the run just for them. The run is special to me and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
It was expected that more than one million Canadians would participate in the run in 6,000 locations across the country, including other local communities such as LaSalle. Since the first Marathon of Hope in 1980, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $400 million for cancer research.