Forty years since the Marathon of Hope.
I wonder what it would have been like, had he come to Langley.
He would have probably come right through here on the Trans-Canada – and the feeling, I am sure, would have been palpable the moment he stepped foot onto local pavement.
He would be mere miles from his finish line had he made it to the Township; a couple days worth of running and it’d all be over.
He’d be home.
Would people have lined the road to get a glimpse of the hero and cheer him on?
What would our feelings be had he come this far instead of stopping near Thunder Bay?
If he were successful… if he would have lived… what do you think he’d be doing?
Would we bump into him on the streets of Port Coquitlam or pass him leisurely driving somewhere on the very path he would have ran on his marathon?
Would he be married? Have children? Compete in the Paralympic Games?
Would most of us remember his name without having to take out our phone if he remained here with us?
In our schools, would his name grace Canadian curriculum’s as many times as it does today?
Would he have done it again?
Would it lose its impact each time he completed the trip?
What if the Marathon of Hope happened now? Would he have Instagramed the entire journey? Would there be endless footage to follow?
Where would the ones who followed in his footsteps be?
What would Steve Fonyo and Rick Hansen have done?
Would September have no significance? No gatherings held or funds raised for cancer in his name?
Would there still be statues outside B.C. Place or in St. John’s where he took is first step?
What would Canada be if he never would have tried?
No matter bogging ourselves down with these thoughts; maybe it’s not the best use of time – especially when there is still cancer to fight.
He never got much time to ponder “would have” or “what if.”
I suppose the luxury of getting to say “what if” is what we’re all fighting for when we step out to run and raise funds in that young man’s honour.
What is, however, is the fact a 21-year-old Canadian kid dipped his prosthetic leg in the Atlantic Ocean on April 12, 1980.
What is, however, is the face a 21-year-old Canadian kid give it his all for 143 days.
I wanted to sit down and try to separate the man from the image he has since become; try to understand how someone can inspire an entire nation by trying – and ultimately failing – yet, still continue doing so 39 years after passing on.
But what is, is that Terry Fox ran the Marathon of Hope.
And because of the hearts that he touched by doing that, people went outside this past Sunday, rain, shine, or pandemic, to keep the fight going.
What is, is that the marathon will outlast the very disease it has been trying to beat.
Is there more to this story?