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Innisfail’s Terry Fox Run is ready to roll

Organizers once again shut out of Centennial Park but have a new staging area at the Innisfail Curling Club
Patrick Gleason, lead organizer for this year's community Terry Fox Run, has high hopes for this year's event on Sunday, Sept. 17 with the new staging area at the Innisfail Curling Club. File Photo/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – The annual community Terry Fox Run is moving ahead this month but for the second year in a row it will be on an alternate route put together for 2022.

Last year the Innisfail Terry Fox Run, an annual event to support cancer research, was forced to change its longstanding staging location at Centennial Park and route due to a date conflict with the inaugural Innisfail Harvest Festival.

This year it’s the same story for the route, but organizers have a new staging area.

“Hopefully we have a new home, and that is the curling club and so that means we'll use basically the same route we had last year,” said Patrick Gleason, the local event’s long-time lead organizer. “I would think that would be the route we'll use in future years.”

The date for this year’s local run is Sept. 17; the same as every other run across the country that is sanctioned by the Terry Fox Foundation. The Sept. 17 date is also the second day of the two-day Innisfail Harvest Festival.

“I wanted it to be in line with a national event,” said Gleason. “That is the optimum (date) for me because that is the national Terry Fox Run.”

The 43rd annual Terry Fox Run, which began in 1981 to honour the late Terry Fox’s heroism and Marathon of Hope in 1980, has grown to involve millions of participants in more than 60 countries.

Terry ran an average of 42 kilometres every day for 143 days. Terry was forced to end his run on Sept. 1, 1980 when cancer spread to his lungs. He died on June 28, 1981 at the age of 22.

For the past several years Gleason and his team of volunteers have aimed to exceed the $10,000 fundraising mark.

Over the many years in the community the local Terry Fox Run has raised more than $160,000 dollars for cancer research.

However, Gleason feels the staging location change from Centennial Park to the Innisfail Twin Arena last year had an adverse impact.

“We had fewer participants and less revenue raised,” said Gleason, noting $6,000 was raised in 2022.

Nevertheless, Gleason remains committed, especially with the new staging quarters at the Innisfail Curling Club.

“The curling club really provides us with a very nice venue. I mean, we can have registration inside,” said Gleason. “We can have people after the run, be inside and have a cup of coffee and a snack. It is pretty deluxe for us.”

Interested participants are asked to arrive at the Innisfail Curling Club to register between noon and 1 p.m.

“The beginning of the run, or walk or ride or whatever people want to do will start at one o'clock,” said Gleason. “I would say the vast majority of people are finished before three o'clock.”

As for the five-kilometre route, it is much the same as last year with participants starting by heading west and circling around the baseball diamonds, and then going back on 42nd Street towards the railway tracks but turning left just before the tracks and going north.

Participants will then go back over the tracks and do a loop just east of the Mormon church and then come back over the tracks. They will then head back south towards 42nd Street, and then back west down to the curling club.

Event organizers are expected to receive local sponsorship from Innisfail’s Scotiabank, while the Innisfail Lions Club will also make a financial commitment, with members helping out on the day of the event.

Gleason said he’s also expecting additional support from the local Subway and Tim Hortons franchises to provide participants and volunteers with refreshments.

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


Johnnie Bachusky

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