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Marathon of Hope turns 30



It's been 30 years since Terry Fox set out on a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research, setting in motion an international fundraiser that has now raised close to half a billion dollars.

The story is now a Canadian legend. Terry Fox did not complete his journey. He was forced to halt his Marathon of Hope in Ontario when his cancer returned. He was already a national hero by then, having run the equivalent of a marathon a day for 143 days while covering an incredible 5,373 km. He passed away in 1981. The first Terry Fox Run was held in a handful of Canadian cities the next year to keep his dream alive.

Fox himself had hoped to raise $24 million, one dollar for every person in Canada. With the support of thousands of runners across Canada he passed that mark in the first year.

This year the run continues on Sunday, Sept. 19, with events throughout Sea to Sky.

This year the Whistler event will be based out of the Four Seasons Resort, which has a long-standing connection to the Terry Fox Run. Isadore Sharp, the founder of the hotel chain, came up with the idea to host the run and pledged to Terry Fox in his hospital bed that he would keep the Marathon of Hope alive.

Because of the change in venue, the courses will be a little different this year with a mix of paved and gravel trails in Lost Lake Park. It also won't go the full 10 km distance, instead offering a 7.2 km sport run and a 4.2 km fun run. As always the event is open to runners, walkers and riders.

The sign-on takes place at 9 a.m. at the hotel with a complimentary breakfast. Lululemon Athletica will be conducting the warm-up and post-run stretch. As well the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre's youth ambassadors will send out the runners with a drum ceremony.

Participation is by donation, and the chief fundraiser will be the raffle. Tickets are $3 each and books of eight tickets are $20. The draw prizes are significant, including a four-day round trip and round of golf at the Four Seasons in Dallas, Texas, plus stays at Four Seasons resorts in Hawaii and London. As well, there is a stay available at the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, and a variety of other prizes donated by supporters.

Businesses are encouraged to participate in the Corporate Challenge, with the team that sells the most raffle tickets winning a party for 75 people at Buffalo Bills, valued at $2,000.

To purchase raffle tickets or get raffle tickets towards your corporate challenge team, contact Doug Hart at

As well as purchasing raffle tickets, people will be able to make donations on the site or at

Splitz Grill is sponsoring the post-race lunch, and there will be live music at the finish with Matt King and Papa Josh. Whistler Brewing Company will host a beer garden at the finish as well.

For the second year in a row, the special guest for the Whistler Terry Fox Run is Bob McGill, Terry Fox's high school basketball coach. McGill encouraged Terry Fox to keep trying if he wanted to start on his high school basketball team, and later influenced Fox's continued involvement in sports.