Central Saanich Terry Fox Run aims at being the best one yet

Annual cancer fundraiser takes place at Centennial Park on Sept. 17

(The Terry Fox Foundation)

Tim Collins/News staff

Marilyn Hodgson was in the early years of her teaching career when, in 1981, the first Terry Fox run was held. Since that time she has participated in 35 of the 37 annual runs.

The run and its goal of raising money for cancer research has a special resonance with Hodgson, who lost two sisters and her mother to cancer. But the long-time school teacher has always recognized the importance of telling the Terry Fox story and keeping his dream alive.

“For the 35 years I worked as a school teacher, I did my best to help my students understand who this incredible Canadian hero was. His was a story about not giving up,” said Hodgson.

She said that Fox’s lessons about persevering in the face of obstacles and having the courage to meet seemingly insurmountable challenges were Terry Fox’s real lessons for kids.

Those lessons, said Hodgson, could be lost; forgotten by new generations who were not even born when Terry Fox undertook his Marathon of Hope in 1980. If she, and others like her, don’t keep the story alive, she said, the real message could fade with time.

Hodgson is in charge of the Saanich Peninsula’s Terry Fox run for the third year running and is looking to make the Peninsula’s the best of the three Greater Victoria runs.

The Central Saanich event joins with simultaneous runs at Mile 0 in Victoria and at Royal Roads in the Westshore.

In Central Saanich the run will, once again, take place September 17 at Centennial Park with registration at 8 a.m. and the run starting at 9 a.m. Three options will be available for runners/walkers as they choose between a two, five, or 10 km course through the park and into the heart of Central Saanich. According to Hodgson, the course is intentionally suitable for bikes and strollers and that dogs on leashes are welcome.

The event is slated to wrap up by 11 a.m.

“The Central Saanich Lions club has been kind enough to organize a pancake breakfast during the event (by donation) with all the funds raised going to the run,” said Hodgson.

“We’ve had tremendous support from the business community with more than 30 businesses contributing to door prizes for the event, but in the end it’s all about how many people come out and participate in support of the event. We’ve raised almost $40,000 in the last two years and more than $160,000 in the 16 years the event has run on the Peninsula. That can only be maintained if people come out and do the run.”

Donations to the Terry Fox campaign can be made at terryfox.com (Central Saanich) or at the Centennial Park on the day of the run.

“With this being Canada’s 150, I encourage people to up their pledges or get creative with the 150 theme,” said Hodgson.

“And I would urge parents and educators to take the opportunity to tell Terry’s story to young people. Tell them about his courage and the reasons for the run so we not only raise funds for cancer research; we also raise awareness and inspire personal acts of heroism in others.”