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Ditching Smoking for Running at Newmarket’s Terry Fox Run

Meet Nick, Paul, and Greg, who are participating in their first ever Terry Fox Run in Newmarket, Ontario on Sunday, September 16, 2018.

The parking lot of the Ray Twinney Complex in Newmarket, Ontario fills up with runners prepared to participate in the 38th annual Terry Fox Run.

The parking lot of the Ray Twinney Complex in Newmarket, Ontario was flooded with hundreds of people on Sunday, September 16, 2018 for the 38th annual Terry Fox Run. The parking lot had tents running along the edges with people supplying water, coffee, and food. Tables congregated near the entrance for runners to register for the run. A massive stage was positioned at the back of the lot, complete with music playing from large speakers and occasional appearances from spokespeople to discuss the event.

The run, initiated by Terry Fox as the Marathon of Hope, continues Fox’s legacy to support cancer research and treatment across Canada. The sun beat down on the event, raising the temperature to a high of 28°C, particularly exhaustive for runners participating in the five and ten kilometre run. Such runners include brothers Greg Light, 36, and Nick “D-Light” Light, 32, plus their best friend Paul Barnes, 28, all from Newmarket.

Check out Nick, Paul, and Greg.

From left to right, Nick “D-Light” Light, 32, Paul Barnes, 28, and Greg Light, 36, prepare to participate in their first ever Terry Fox Run by each completing the 5 kilometre run.

Greg sported a fluorescent yellow shirt and bandana while Nick wore a highlighter orange and black shirt with a blue bandana. Both are data technicians and have worked on the wiring of Drake’s mansion in Toronto’s Bridle Path neighbourhood. Barnes had an all black outfit on and is a residential home framer currently working on building townhouses in Newmarket. They raised roughly $200 for the Terry Fox Foundation and made the decision to participate four days before the annual run.

“We recently quit smoking, which was kind of the catalyst to get more fit and active,” Nick said when asked why they chose to make this their first year as Terry Fox Run participators. Greg explained that he lived an active lifestyle in his youth and finds running his “journey,” back into shape. They have been running 50 kilometres a month for the previous three months.

The Marathon of Hope

Participants Beginning Their 5km or 10km Trek

As a spokesperson took the stage to thank everyone for attending the Terry Fox Run, Nick explained why he believes the event is important to many Canadians by saying, “Cancer touches everyone, whether it’s directly or indirectly, and I feel it’s something that, as a collective, we could’ve finished the battle a long time ago.” Barnes continued off of Nick’s point saying, “Terry’s story touches everyone, so I think whether you’re Canadian or not, it’s something that you can get behind… whether you know Terry or not, it’s a good reason to get out and do some running.”

Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on July 28, 1958. Fox lost his right leg to cancer at the age of 18. He chose to combat cancer and raise money for cancer research by starting to run. Fox planned to begin his run in St. John's, Newfoundland and finish his run across the country in British Columbia. He called this run across Canada the Marathon of Hope. He ran the distance comparative to a marathon, every day for 143 days, an unprecedented feat for an amputee. Fox ran 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles) across six provinces and running close to 42 kilometres (26 miles) a day. Fox had to stop his run on September 1, 1980 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, after cancer had spread to his lungs. Fox's Marathon of Hope raised $24.17 million by February 1, 1981. Terry Fox died June 28, 1981 at the age of 22.

Greg, Nick, and Paul Completing Their 5km Run Among Other Runners

All three plan to continue participating in the Terry Fox Run for their foreseeable future. “As long as my legs will keep me moving, I’ll stay and come running,” Greg said amidst the group’s laughter. “It’s a good cause, great people,” Greg waved his hand over the collection of runners, “great day, beautiful time. Just jump out and run!”

The Terry Fox Foundation

If you would like to donate to the Terry Fox Foundation today, click the link above. 

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Stefano Ruccia
Stefano Ruccia

Journalism student at University of Toronto / Centennial College

Expanding my reach. If you want to reach me, you can contact me through my email or Twitter!

Twitter: @RucciaStefano

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