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Terry Fox's inspiration returns to Bow Valley

"I feel like you get caught up in the emotion and it becomes really real, being here."

BOW VALLEY – Lacing up for the Terry Fox Run on Sunday (Sept. 18) was a first-time-dance for Alan Corcoran, but the lasting legacy of the Canadian icon has has been a life-changing passage for one of Canmore's top adventurers.

The Terry Fox Run returned to in-person events in the Bow Valley this past weekend, signalling normalcy after nearly three years and inspiring many – such as Corcoran.

A decade ago, Corcoran set out on a mission – his own sort of Marathon of Hope – when he ran 35 marathons in 35 days, or 1,500 kilometres around Ireland and Northern Ireland while raising money for several charities after his father suffered a stroke.

After hearing of Terry Fox and his goal to run across Canada and raise money for cancer research, the Irishman became a little more like the Canadian hero and set out on his path, which inspired his debut novel, Marathon Man: My Life, My Father’s Stroke and Running 35 Marathons in 35 Days.

On Sunday (Sept. 18), the award-winning author and documentarian pounded the pavement in his very first Terry Fox Run.

“It was great being part of it,” said Corcoran after the Canmore run.

“My family has been affected by cancer, my dad died of cancer five years ago, so I came down this morning, donated some dollars and taken part and it’s been fantastic.”

The 'Marathon Man' has continued to raise funds for cancer research and charities through endurance sports. He is navigating through the waters of Unsinkable, Corcoran's debut documentary film, where he dove in the chilly waters of Ireland's eastern coast and swam 500km south to north while raising funds for cancer research and heart and stroke charities.

The documentary was a hit at the Wales International Film Festival, winning the Jury's Special Prize. Corcoran hopes the adventure documentary will debut in Canada next month at the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival.

"It's not in Canada yet, so fingers crossed for Banff," he said. "If I can't make the big one, I'll do something local."

Putting feet to pavement, Corcoran was one of dozens who ran in the 10 km, 5 km, or 1 km runs on Sunday.

Jack Gray, Canmore's Terry Fox Run organizer, said it was special to see the run return to in-person for the first time since 2019.

“It’s just good to see everyone back together again,” he said. “It’s important to do this, and you see a lot of people have their ‘I’m running for’ stickers on, so it means a lot for people to come out and run.”

Lesley Bannister, MC and organizer, added: "I feel like you get caught up in the emotion and it becomes really real, being here."

Of the $15,565 raised for the Terry Fox Foundation in Canmore in 2022, Michelle Fuller, known for her Fuller's Fighters team, contributed $10,145.

In Banff, the Terry Fox Run raised $17,765 with Joel Hagen raising more than $10,500 for cancer research.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
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