The annual Olds Terry Fox Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research via the Terry Fox Foundation takes place this Sunday, Sept. 16.
The event, held nationwide every year, is named after Terry Fox, a young cancer sufferer who ran across Canada in 1980 to raise funds for — and awareness of — the need for cancer research. After he died in 1981, the Marathon of Hope was started in his name to further his goal.
Registration will open at 10 a.m. at the gazebo in Centennial Park. Start time is 11 a.m. and the gazebo also serves as the finish line.
“Just come down. You can either have pre-filled-out pledge forms or you can fill them out on the day,” organizer Noel D’arcy, a volunteer firefighter, says.
As in previous years, there are two routes: a five-kilometre (K) course and a 10-K one.
Although it’s commonly called a “run,” participants can walk, run, bike or in-line skate through whichever course suits them.
At about noon, a barbecue will be held in Centennial Park for those who finish the courses. It will keep going until everyone is done.
“When you get back at the end, if you’re feeling up to it and you feel like you can eat something, there’s going to be hotdogs and whatever else you want there. And there’ll be water on hand and some refreshments,” D’arcy says.
He stresses the event is “very non-competitive.”
“And even if you don’t want to run — do the five-K or 10-K — you can just come down and hang out with us for the barbecue at noon,” D’arcy says.
“If you want to make a donation to Terry Fox, there’s no minimum or maximum donation. Whether you come down and donate a toonie or donate $20 or whatever, it’s all useful money.”
D’arcy says the two routes have not changed. They’re the same as last year.
“They seem to be popular routes so we’re sticking with what works,” he says.
There’ll be one water station in front of the fire hall. Firefighters will also be on hand to help participants cross Highway 27 at the Mountain View Credit Union.
“It’s probably the most dangerous part of the route, just for the fact that it’s the middle of one of the major intersections in town, so we’re going to have someone there,” D’arcy says.
“We’re going to have a fire truck maybe set up on the road; maybe some cones. We’ll just have someone directing people across the road. So there’ll be someone there with a stop sign.”
D’arcy is expecting about 60 people to participate in the Marathon of Hope this year, on par with last year.
“It does seem to be a pretty steady number and I’m hoping it’ll stay steady,” he says.
“We were one of the few runs that actually last year kept pretty much the same as the year before, whereas all the other runs in a lot of the other towns were losing traction for some reason.”
D’arcy says in 2015, the first year he was involved in organizing the Marathon of Hope in Olds, about 40 people participated. That figure shot up to about 60 last year.
Donations have increased along a similar trajectory.
D’arcy says organizers raised about $1,500 in 2015 and at least $4,000 last year.
“It’s a big increase,” he says.
He’s expecting this year’s donations to be in that same range.
D’arcy also expects about 10 volunteers — primarily from the fire department — to help out again this year, on par with previous years. That includes some new recruits.