This would have been the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope, and allowing COVID to disrupt Terry’s legacy seems incredibly wrong, especially when those who are living with cancer are among our most vulnerable. With no assemblies this year, and no mass gatherings, how to run Terry Fox Day at your school will require a little ingenuity!
Here is one way that you can bring the Marathon of Hope to your school:
Instead of a mass run on a single day, turn it into an extended event. Each class walks or runs a route (the distance around the outside edge of our field is 300m, for example) daily or every other day and records how far they have run. Those totals are recorded by the class and submitted to your Terry Fox lead, who can either record the total on a map of Canada, or on a simpler chart. A cut-out of Terry running along a distance-marked length of road would be a great visual as well. You don’t need to be completed by the “official” Terry Fox run day… given the late and complex start to the school year, extending your Terry Fox run/donation time by a few weeks makes sense.
Can your school make it the 5373 km to Thunder Bay? If your school is smaller, you may want to choose a shorter distance… it’s 3101km from Thunder Bay to Victoria, where the Marathon of Hope was to have ended. If you have a large school, maybe you want to try for the full 8474km distance across Canada.
This activity has the advantage of fulfilling DPA requirements, and getting your classes outside into the fresh air! You can also use it to review basic math skills and number sense in the class. For instance, at the Primary level, (our recommendation to our Primary teachers is to round three laps of our field to 1km), counting and keeping track of how many kilometres your class has run can be a great time to practice tens, ones, and grouping/counting by tens. At the older grades, keeping the 300m distance would mean that you can work on adding decimals and multiple of three. If you are having students do as many laps as they can in a given time period and having each student keep track of their own, I’d recommend handing out lap-tokens (I use popsicle sticks, but have also used plastic counters, which can probably be sanitized more easily) as students will tend to lose track of how many laps they have run. Alternately, to simplify your accounting, you can just have students each run 3 or 5 or 10 laps.
The Terry Fox Foundation has a theme of “What’s your 40?” for the 40th anniversary. You can check out in-class activity ideas here: https://terryfox.org/schoolrun/whats-your-40/ One idea might be for your Terry Fox lead to create 40km certificates and to post them up near your distance tracking as a class reaches 40km run. For every 40km after that, another certificate could be added (if, like us, you have 23 divisions, choosing a different colour for each subsequent 40 and layering them may be needed for space constraints!)
While many fundraising techniques (bake sales, for example) are not an option this year, the Terry Fox Foundation has online donation capability, making it easier for friends and family who are more physically distant to participate.
If your school enjoys a robust Terry Fox Day culture, with celebration assemblies and incentives (if you raise $XX, teacher A will do this… if you raise $XXX, teacher B will do this… if we get to $XXXX admin will do this), some of those incentives could be recorded and shared by the teacher in the classroom. This year, given the potential for family incomes to have been affected by COVID, we have chosen to attach the incentives to the number of kilometres run, rather than the money raised… however, we will be promoting fundraising in our school all the same.
Good luck to all BC schools as we continue to honour Terry’s legacy and continue his Marathon of Hope.