On April 12, 1980, Terry Fox began his historic Marathon of Hope in St. John’s, Newfoundland with the goal of raising money for cancer research.
His journey ended in Thunder Bay, Ontario when his own personal battle with cancer forced him to retire from his incredible run. When the news broke across the nation that Fox’s marathon would be cut short, Canadian hotelier Isadore Sharpe sent him a telegram that he pinned to his hospital bed. It read: “You started it. We will not rest until your dream to find a cure for cancer is realized.”
For local runner Rick Fall, keeping Terry’s dream alive has been an initiative he and his wife Colette have committed to by playing instrumental roles in the Sault’s annual Terry Fox Run. That dream is shared by the countless people whose lives have been touched by cancer, and Fall is planning to embark on a journey of his own this upcoming spring to continue toward the goal Fox had set out to do 40 years ago.
At 60 years of age, Fall will attempt to run from Victoria, B.C. (which is near his hometown of Duncan, BC) to his current home in Sault Ste. Marie. On April 13, almost 40 years to the date Terry Fox began his marathon, Fall will begin a trek that will take him through five provinces, running a total of 4,200 kilometres.
The purpose of this run is to raise money; not only for cancer research and the pursuit of a cure, but also to make the dreams of those currently battling cancer come true. This is why he selected Make-A-Wish Foundation and Childhood Cancer Canada as the co-recipients of the funds raised throughout this initiative. He says children affected by the disease deserve to have their wishes come true.
“Both of these foundations are able to fulfil their wishes or help them live a better life,” Fall says. “So just being able to get out there and help them get the tools they need to live a better and sustainable life motivates me.”
As an avid runner for most of his life, Fall ran his first full marathon at the age of 21. Since then, he has participated in numerous marathons, including ones in Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, Berlin, and New York City.
This marathon, however, will be the equivalent of running 100 consecutive marathons. So you might be asking yourself – how does someone at 60 years of age prepare for such a gruelling task?
“I think for my body I just have to stay active - keep running whenever I can but also not overdoing it,” he explains. “I've ran 14 marathons, and because it’s not a race and there’s no timeframe for you to finish, I’m not in a hurry to get it done.”
Fall projects he will complete the run at some point in August, which would mean the entire journey would take approximately four months. He plans to wear a GPS tracker, so that those looking to “FalloRick” as he starts his journey can track his up-to-date location and progress on his website at www.fallorick.com.
In terms of challenges he expects to face along the way, Fall says he expects to battle sleep deprivation, as well as physical and mental fatigue. He says it will be important to figure out the optimal pace and nutrition to safely complete the run, and the most important factor for him will be how he controls his mind frame as he gets further into his trek.
“Most of this is in the mind, and it's just knowing that I’m doing it for the kids,” he says. “I also want to be putting the word out there to kids, young adults and adults to just never give up.”
On Wednesday, March 11, a send-off fundraiser will take place at The Grand Gardens North Location. The event is a pasta dinner, and all proceeds from the event will add to the total amount to be donated to Make-A-Wish and Childhood Cancer Canada.
“Sault Ste. Marie has been so generous in giving prizes and donations for the event,” Fall says. “I’m overwhelmed with the support I’m getting for this from people and businesses in town.”
Fall recommends contacting him or his wife to purchase tickets for the event. Their contact information can be found by visiting his website, his FalloRick Facebook page, or the Send Off Fundraiser for FalloRick Home to Home event page on Facebook.
When asked about what completing this marathon will mean to him personally, Fall says he believes the feeling of accomplishment will be more satisfying knowing he is helping people in need.
“I will feel that I've accomplished something that benefits more people than myself,” he says.
“It’s also getting the word out to other people that we have it in us to help support these causes.”