Community

Cloverdale takes a team approach to the Terry Fox Run

Cloverdale Terry Fox Run team members Pat Ostrom, Elaine Gooliaeff and Jim McMurtry.  - Contributed photo
Cloverdale Terry Fox Run team members Pat Ostrom, Elaine Gooliaeff and Jim McMurtry.
— image credit: Contributed photo

When Jim McMurtry moved here in 1996, he was surprised to learn Cloverdale didn’t have its own Terry Fox Run.

The high school teacher had been participating in the annual run while living in Switzerland, so he joined the Surrey Run that year.

But he decided to revive the Cloverdale run the year later, building it up to 100 to 150 participants.

Still, he says, it “felt like a lonely exercise,” despite great support from local media and loyal runners. That is, until Elaine Gooliaeff stepped up as chair of the Cloverdale Terry Fox Run in 2006.

Gooliaeff, a fixture at the “hometown run” in Port Coquitlam with her family, was able to broaden the committee of volunteers in Cloverdale.

The Cloverdale run started small, and it’s held firm to its community roots. “When we seek donations, we try to stay within Cloverdale,” she says, “And our participants are mostly from Cloverdale, so they support those donors."

At the 30th anniversary of Terry’s original Marathon of Hope in 2010, the 300 Cloverdale participants taking part raised $17,000 for the cause.

Gooliaeff shares a personal connection to the run; her father and Terry were second cousins, and their two families became very close after Terry's dad and mom Rolly and Betty Fox moved the family to B.C. from Winnipeg.

After Terry lost his leg to cancer, her father adapted his wheelchair so Terry could play wheelchair basketball.

Terry wasn’t an icon to her when he ran his Marathon of Hope, Gooliaeff says. But when he fell ill again and had to call off his marathon, she witnessed the toll his death took on the family around him.

This year’s run takes place this Sunday, Sept. 16, starting and ending at the Cloverdale Legion, which is hosting the event for the third year in a row.

Branch 6 got involved when a late legion member, Jim Gallagher, asked immediate past president Pat Ostrom if the organization could get involved.

“I said ‘Sure,’ and we met Betty and Rolly and Elaine, and it grew from there,” Ostrom recalls.

Supporting community events like this one, where the members can get involved, is what the Legion stands for, he says.

Plenty of Legion members volunteer their time and the Branch 6 Ladies Auxiliary helps prepare food on run day.

And last year, the the runners, walkers, strollers and wheelers took welcome refuge in side the roomy legion hall during a downpour on run day.

Both the facility and the volunteers have provided “overwhelming” support for the run, says Gooliaeff.

Ostrom has since recruited his wife, Sue, their two daughters and a son-in-law as volunteers, for the cause.

On run day, participants take a pause for reflection when they notice that somebody who was there the year before is absent – or by writing a note to say they’re running for a friend or relative.

“You often see people fairly choked up before the run,” McMurtry says. “The message doesn’t change. It remains powerful regardless of the runners there are.”

This year’s run features new, clearly marked routes for 1 km, 5 km and 10 km routes.

Walkers, runners, strollers, families, and pets are welcome.

Team registration is encouraged. Go to terryfox.org to register.

There will be a silent auction featuring items donated by local merchants, including a special edition pair of Terry Fox running shoes.

Other activities include face painting, entertainment and food, making it an ideal family outing.

Registration is at 9 a.m., the run starts at 10 a.m. Meet at the Cloverdale Royal Canadian Legion, 17567 57 Avenue. To volunteer, email Elaine Gooliaeff at egoolia@telus.net.

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