This Sunday, we’ll be running the Yorkshire Marathon and I’m… apprehensive, to say the least. Though I’ve trained well, had a very successful 22 mile run and have got my nutrition strategy in the bag, I’m still worried. The great guys at Marathon Talk say – “Half of 26.2 is 20”, and I’ve heard that you run the last 6.2 miles of your marathon with your head, not your legs.
With this knowledge in mind, I’m getting myself prepared for a “Why am I doing this? I want to give up” moment. In short, I need a hero, which is why I’ll be running with a picture of this guy in my pocket.
‘This guy’ was Terry Fox and if ever there was a hero to give you strength at your darkest hour, he was it. A talented high-school athlete, Terry’s sporting career was cut short aged 19 with the discovery of a tumour in his leg. When he was in hospital having his leg amputated, he read an article about an amputee runner and was quietly inspired. In secret from his family, he hatched a plan to push himself further than anyone, amputee or no, had ever done before. Determined that people in the future would be free of the disease, Terry Fox decided to run across Canada to raise funds for cancer research. His dream was to raise $1 for every person in Canada by performing an incredible, inspirational feat of endurance.
Starting in Newfoundland, he ran an average of 26 miles each day Westwards. This was the days before prostheses designed for running existed. Terry ran with a shuffle-run, with blisters bleeding on his stump. He was sunburned and exhausted, but every day he got up and ran another marathon. While he was on his epic journey, his cancer relapsed but he continued to push onwards until he could go no further, as the cancer spread to his lungs. After 143 days, and 3,339 miles, Terry’s ‘Marathon of Hope’ ended. He lived long enough to see the day that the Terry Fox Foundation raised $24.1 million from 24.1 million Canadians, but died in June 1981, aged 23.
I can’t do him justice here, so please read more about his story at the Terry Fox Foundation. Inspired by Terry, GB Parathlete Richard Whitehead recently ran a marathon every day from Land’s End to John O’Groats in aid of Sarcoma UK.
I’ve printed out a picture of Terry, and this quote from him on the back:
I was determined to take myself to the limit for this cause.
I’m going to laminate it and keep it in my shorts pocket in case I flag during the Yorkshire Marathon. At 20 miles, I’ll try not to be thinking of myself – I’ll be thinking of Terry Fox, and of Jane Tomlinson and of the money we’re raising for other families affected by cancer.
Terry Fox is my #Mile20Hero – who’s yours?
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Jessica Alberigo says
Wow, reading this has literally brought a tear to my eye, what an inspiring story. Good luck with the marathon- I hope his story gives you the strength you’ll need in those last few miles, and just remember- it will end! X
Bibi Rodgers says
I kept having to stop typing because I was crying, too! His story is just incredible, I hope I can be 0.1% of the runner he was.
Cyanne (RunStretchGo) says
You also brought a tear to my eyes. My #Mile20Hero would be my grandmother, who after fighting cancer for 14 years, with several years of remission, finally lost her fight back in 2006.
I hope you had an awesome race this morning!
rose george says
I saw Terry Fox running across Canada! We used to go on family holidays and drive from coast to coast. I can’t remember where or when but we definitely saw him. What a wonderful man.
Bibi Rodgers says
AS IF, that’s incredible! To me, he’s like a superhero so the idea of one of my friends having actually *seen* him boggles my mind.
anne leslie says
I just read this post. I keep having people ask me about who do I most admire, and I am always at a loss. There are/have been so many amazing people that have added so much to this world. But honestly, for every year that I can remember this man has inspired me and so many people to just remember that one person really can make a difference. Thanks for the post Bibi! xx And thanks for the difference you have made to all the people you raised funds for! x
Bibi Rodgers says
He really did inspire we through the marathon. From about Mile 19-24, I had my little laminated card clutched in my (sweaty) hand and I just kept thinking of him.
What an amazing guy. If I can have 0.1% of the resolve and determination he has for making the world a better place, I’d be thrilled.