By Andrew Mitchell
For 25 years the Terry Fox Run has grown, with more communities and participants raising more funding for cancer research each year.
The first event, in 1981, attracted 300,000 participants across Canada, and raised $3.5 million for the newly created Terry Fox Foundation. Last year more than 5,000 runs took place in more than 50 countries with participants raising $36 million, for a cumulative total of over $400 million raised for cancer research.
Whistler’s Terry Fox Run is also growing in terms of the number of participants and funds raised. The 2005 run, the 25 th anniversary of Fox’s death, brought out a record 300 participants who helped to raise over $11,000 for the foundation, or close to $40 per runner/walker/cyclist.
The 2006 run takes place this Sunday, Sept. 17 with the Four Seasons Resort Whistler stepping up once again to coordinate the event. The Four Seasons has been a huge supporter since the beginning, with company chair and CEO Isadore Sharp helping to set up the foundation after meeting Terry Fox. The Four Seasons is also why the Terry Fox run has become such a huge international event, with hotels around the world hosting their own versions of the run.
Scott Taber, the manager of the Whistler Four Seasons, is also an avid runner, having participated in this event since the beginning, and has personally helped to grow the Whistler event in the last three years.
This year Taber and volunteers are hoping to increase participation once again, and to raise a total of $15,000.
“We’re going to make this year’s event bigger and better,” said Taber. “Besides being a great honour for all Four Seasons colleagues to do our part on behalf of Terry Fox, our own community comes together once again with an unrivaled spirit second to none.”
Once again there will be both 5 km and 10 km race courses, with water at the halfway point. This year the race will be based at Meadow Park sports fields, and include a loop of the Whistler Golf Course.
Participants can run, walk, or wheel their way around the course to show their support for cancer research, and stick around afterwards for the after party.
There will be live entertainment courtesy of Guitar Doug, food, and a prize draw that includes stays at Four Seasons locations at Lanai and Toronto, and numerous items donated by local businesses.
Mayor Ken Melamed will be in the run this year, along with downhill legend Steve Podborski. As well, members of Whistler Fire Services and the Whistler RCMP are challenging each other to race the course in uniform.
Registration gets underway at 9 a.m., and entry is by donation. The run gets underway at 10 a.m.
Terry Fox Run events are also planned for Pemberton and Squamish. The Pemberton event takes place at the Pemberton Airport picnic area, and runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Both 5 km and 10 km courses are available.
The Squamish event gets underway at 9 a.m. at the Brennan Park Rec Centre, with a 2.5 km course that people can circle up to four times.