A new start for 35th Terry Fox Run

Event will begin and end at Spirit Square in Pitt Meadows

The Terry Fox Run will have a new route in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows this year.

The 35th annual event takes place on Sunday, Sept. 20. Instead of starting in Hammond, the run will begin and end in Pitt Meadows, at Spirit Square park on Harris Road.

Those on the five-kilometre route will be running along Harris to Hammond Road, into Maple Ridge, then back again.

As for the 10-kilometre route, it will venture to Hammond community centre, then back to Spirit Square, so runners don’t have to make the same loop twice.

“I’m hoping this starting location is a little more visible as well,” said Ali Wakeling, who’s organizing the run.

“To see all these people, we hope it will draw more attention to the run rather than having it hidden in the back.”

Usually, at least 200 people show up, depending on the weather.

“We’re hoping for 500. We’ve had 500 in the past.”

Maybe the new route will draw more people to sign up for the Terry Fox Run.

Fox, a Port Coquitlam resident, started his Marathon of Hope run across Canada in 1980, but had to abandon his run halfway across because cancer had returned.

Wakeling said local runner Eric Muller helped design the course. Getting the OK from the authorities for the new route, though, took a lot of work, she added.

“I hope this is going to be a great success.”

Wakeling is organizing the run this year, taking over from Betty Levens, who’s organized the event for 15 years.

Ali’s husband, Sandy Wakeling, was another major organizer of the event until his own death from cancer in 2013.

Ali said it should be possible to organize the run so it encompasses both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, given that Terry Fox ran through dozens of communities during his marathon.

The run usually raises about $20,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation. About 84 cents of every dollar raised goes to cancer research.

People can register online or just show up on run day at 8:30 a.m. to register for the run, which starts at 10 a.m. Walkers, cyclists, strollers and dogs on leash can all join in the event at one-kilometre, five-km or 10-km distances.

“There’s no minimum donation required.”

Last year, the run drew 427 participants raising $16,497 for the foundation.

In 2012, more than 800 people participated in one of the largest runs, raising more than $34,000 for cancer research, close to $9,000 more than the previous record.