Marathon of Hope celebrates 35th anniversary

Terry Fox has a special place in Doug Lamb’s heart.

Terry Fox has a special place in Doug Lamb’s heart.

Although he never had the chance to meet the Canadian icon, there was something about Fox and his mission to run across Canada to raise money and awareness for cancer research as part of the Marathon of Hope that caught his attention.

“I had gotten interested in Terry’s run and took up running when I heard he had decided to run across Canada. I said ‘well, if he could do it, I’ll train myself up to be a marathon runner,’” said Lamb, a Fairfield resident.

At the time, Lamb’s mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer, but it was so progressive that treatment would not have helped.

“I told my mother when she was going through her cancer. That’s what kept me wanting to run and help out the Terry Fox Run,” Lamb said.

Lamb’s mother passed away at the age of 51 in Ontario on June 28, 1981 — the same day that Fox eventually succumbed to cancer in New Westminster. He was a few days shy of his 23rd birthday.

“He was probably the most admirable person I’ve ever really read about. Just watching him the way he was so determined to keep running, the hardships he went through and his goals and principles to try and help people, more so than looking for help for himself. That’s what made me feel this was somebody I wanted to tell more people about,” said Lamb, adding he has organized Terry Fox runs in Ontario and the United States.

Lamb is also the organizer of the free Terry Fox Run on Sunday, Sept. 20, which begins at Mile Zero (located at the corner of Douglas Street and Dallas Road), where there is a statue of Fox.

The run, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, marks a special time for event organizers.

“I think everybody that participates is part of the family,” said Darren Wark, Fox’s cousin.

“The fact that so many people, not only in local communities, but across Canada and around the world raise money, is incredible.”

Lamb said organizing the race is his way of keeping Fox’s memory alive.

The five-kilometre race stretches along Dallas Road to St. Charles Street and back. Organizers expect to see roughly 1,000 participants and hope to raise $35,000 for the Terry Fox Research Institute.

There are also races in Central Saanich, on the Westshore and at Royal Roads University.

For more information about the race visit terryfox.org.