© Copyright – 2015 – Victoria Sports News
Thirty-four years ago, Terry Fox’s family attended a ceremony which included the naming of Mount Terry Fox as well as the placement of a plaque at the summit, to honour their late family member. They watched from the perspective of a helicopter. Sunday, September 6th, being the 35th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope, the Fox siblings Darrell, Fred and Judith organised a memorial hike to the summit as a tribute to their brother.
Community volunteers from the town of Valemount (population of 1018), along with guide David King met approximately 60 Terry Fox supporters and family at 6:00 AM along Hwy 5 just outside of town. One of those was Victoria’s Rob Reid, owner of Frontrunners Footwear. Reid organised the creation and placement of the statue of Terry Fox now located at the popular tourist monument called Mile 0 in Victoria.
“It was a clear crisp morning at four degrees. We were prepared for a 10 to 14-hour day in getting up to the summit and back down,” shared Reid. The summit is located at the height of 2,643-metres or 8,671 feet and the hike is a total of 18-kilometres return.
Darrell Fox cycled 350-kilometres on Friday from Kamloops to Valemount with six of his friends. Mount Terry Fox is located 21 kilometres west of Mount Robson and 10 kilometres north east of Valemount.
Reid added, “Guides had done a check of the summit by helicopter the day before and warned that snow could be a challenge and reaching the actual monument would be too risky and time would not be on our side.”
For King and crew it was a six and a half hour trek up through the tree line, where there was plenty of scree and snow. “Poles were very useful at times in staying upright. Four and a half hours in we made it to a signal tour where a helicopter landed to do maintenance. The views of Mount Trudeau and the range were breathtaking,” added Reid.
“I only ended up waist deep in snow in one spot. Fred and Darrell kept up a good pace and young Brandon Jones, who rode with Darrell Friday acted as Sherpa with a Terry Fox flag to be planted at the summit. After six hours, 21 of us made it to the summit, where Darrell yelled “I am so happy “. We took time to sign a book, take photos, and plant the flag and rest for the return. Fred and I assembled the flag poles and everyone gathered rocks to hold it in place beside the cairn,” said Reid on describing the trek.
Descending from the summit was a challenge for the crew as footing at times was poor. “Our energy stores needing a boost and we almost lost one hiker off of the rocky summits, so we needed to carefully traverse. Once we made the tree line, Leonard Scharbach, who was originally from Victoria now lives in Grand Prairie, Alberta along with Darrell, Brandon and I thought we would run the switchbacks down aiming for a 4:00 PM finish, we made it with six minutes to spare,” said Reid.
The trek for the front-running Frontrunner was six and half hours up and three and a half back down.
Laughing, Reid said, “After the run down the mountain, Brandon and I gave Darrell grief as he was unaware that his backpack had emptied out, leaving us behind picking up his random clothes and supplies.”
Reid added, “I would like to thank the Fox family for organising the event, especially Fred and his family.”
Fox was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of cancer, which resulted in his right leg being amputated. He embarked on a cross-country run on April 12, 1980 near St. John’s, N.L. to travel across the country to Victoria, BC. On Sept. 1, 1980, after running 5,375 kilometres, he was forced to stop near Thunder Bay, Ont., due to his health deteriorating. The cancer had returned and spread to his lungs. He passed away on June 28, 1981. He was just 22 years of age.
The annual Terry Fox Run is set for Sept. 20th. It will take place across Canada and many locations around the world including throughout Africa and the Americas and Asia Pacific. There are 760 Terry Fox Runs across Canada. To date, the runs have earned more than $650 million.