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Innisfail prepares for annual Terry Fox Run

Organizers create a ‘hybrid’ event on Sept. 19 for participants
MVP Patrick Gleason 2021
Patrick Gleason, the Innisfail Terry Fox Run's longtime organizer, said participants for the Sept. 19 event can either go to its traditional home at Centennial Park or they can do it virtually. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – To honour the 41st annual Terry Fox Run it will look a little different in town.

It was strictly virtual in 2020, the first year of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

That is also the national focus for this year on Sunday, Sept. 19 when Canada’s cherished annual late summer tradition will once again see citizens from coast to coast in more than 650 communities fundraising for cancer research. This year’s theme is One Day. Your Way.

Innisfail’s run this year will return to Centennial Park but citizens can also do it virtually.

“It’s going to be kind of a hybrid,” said Patrick Gleason, the Innisfail Terry Fox Run’s longtime organizer. “Nationally the emphasis is once again on a virtual Terry Fox Run but I think it would be really great to have a focal point in Innisfail.”

Gleason said citizens wanting to take part in the actual run can register at Centennial Park from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sept. 19.

“Once they register, they can go off on our designated course or do their own special Terry Fox Run or walk,” said Gleason, adding the designated course will be five kilometres in length. “We are still trying to be as safe as possible. We will social distance. We are not having any kind of opening ceremony. Unfortunately, we won’t be having any food because what we are trying to do is to avoid crowds.”

Despite the trimming of amenities, Gleason said the community is stepping up to help. He said the Innisfail Lions Club is helping with set-up for the Sept. 19 run and is making a “significant” financial contribution. He added there are also Rotary Club of Innisfail members who have traditionally made contributions and a group of local seniors who work hard to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation.

“They are people that participate every year,” said Gleason.

He said for citizens wanting to take part virtually they can go to the Terry Fox Foundation website at terryfox.org and find the Innisfail section where there are local details.

Gleason said he’s optimistic for another successful year despite the pandemic. Last year the local run raised about $5,500, and he’s hoping for far more in 2021.

“My goal is always around $10,000. It is a reasonable goal for a town our size. We haven’t reached it yet but we came close. Two years ago, we raised $9,200,” said Gleason, adding he’s encouraging groups of friends, especially the young, to head out after virtually registering and enjoy a run or walk to mark their participation for the annual late summer tradition.

 For more information on the Innisfail Terry Fox Run on Sept. 19 call Gleason at 403-358-1451.