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Terry Fox runs come to Bonnyville

This year, three Terry Fox runs took place in Bonnyville and the surrounding area, with the first wrapping up on Sept. 15, followed by another on Sept. 17, and the final run on Sept. 18.

BONNYVILLE - The first of three Terry Fox runs took place in Bonnyville on Sept. 15, a few days ahead of the national date set aside for the Terry Fox Run.

The Jessie Lake ‘Paved Trail Run’ began at 4 p.m. on Thursday and participants showed up, ready to run their preferred distance. 

Les Parsons is a volunteer and a runner who helped organize multiple dates and routes this year to make the event accessible to more residents. The new twist for the 2022 Bonnyville Terry Fox Run in Bonnyville was meant to focus on the reality of the tough road that Fox experienced in the last couple years of his life. 

Parsons believes that everyone has their own connection to Fox, and spoke about his own battle with cancer 16 years ago. Parsons had a portion of his stomach and half of his liver removed through cancer surgery. 

His close call with death is just one of the reasons he is motivated to educate and organize the Terry Fox Run. 

This year’s run provided walkers, runners, joggers, bikers, wheelchairs and dog-walkers with a “trail experience,” said Parsons.

Participants were also able to choose their preferred distance to complete - from one kilometre to eight kilometres.

“One of my heroes is Terry Fox. He and I are the same age,” said Parsons. “One of his quotes is: ‘I believe in miracles… I have to.’ So far, my recovery with cancer has been a miracle.”

Other Terry Fox runs that took place in Bonnyville this year included ‘Terry’s Tough Trail’ at the MD of Bonnyville Muriel Lake Park, on Sept. 17, followed by another run at Jessie Lake on Sept. 18.

“This is the marathon of hope,” said Parsons.

A total of 60 walkers, bikers, runners and dogs took part in the Terry Fox runs in Bonnyville - which is an increase compared to the walks held during the pandemic. On average, people raise about $50 to be donated to the Terry Fox Foundation, and Parsons estimates about $3,000 was raised. 

Schools will also complete Terry Fox Runs, increasing the number of participants further.

*This story was updated on Sept. 20 at 5:35 p.m.