Sunday, September 6, 2009

South Buffalo Athletic Club Looking For Members

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The South Buffalo Athletic Club was founded in 1993. It is a great organization that promotes fitness but not in an overbearing way. Many of the club's activities are social and community orientated. For example, every year they participate in the Bflo News kids day by helping to sell newspapers. You will see the club's name at the Tifft St. exit on Route 5 as they clean up that part of the highway each year. They are looking for more members to keep this great tradition going. Current members of the club include my good friends Barb and Barry Fitzgerald and Marty Farrell. Here is a link for the club. If you like to walk, run fast, run slow, or (like me) simply like to run your mouth, please consider joining the SBAC.

When the running club was brought to my attention, for some reason it made me think about Terry Fox. Those of you old enough will remember he was the 21 year old cancer survivor with one leg who attempted to run across Canada in an effort to raise money for cancer research in 1980.

I like his story because of the way it started off small and took on a life of it's own. Fox began what would later be called the Marathon of Hope in St. John's, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980 with very little fanfare. There was no Internet back then. He ran all the way with only a few close friends monitoring his progress. At some point, he was allowed to do a ceremonial kickoff at a CFL football game. At that game, the crowd went crazy and his run became an international story. He ran 3,339 miles through Newfoundland, Novia Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. After 143 days, On September 1, 1980, Fox was forced to end his run in Thunder Bay, Ontario at a hastily called, emotional news conference. His cancer had returned and had spread throughout his body. At a telethon in his honor eight days later, TV actor Lee Majors called Fox "the real Six Million Dollar Man". I thought that was a great line and a great tribute. I remember there was some poll of Canadian citizens that ranked Fox as the most important Canadian athlete of all time over Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Steve Nash. Not bad company for an "amateur" athlete.

He was ahead of his time because in 1980 it was unheard of for disabled people to even think about running. Prosthetic legs were not designed for walking very far, much less running. It was such a strange sight to see on the news each night as the crowds grew larger and larger. When Fox couldn't go on, it almost seemed to fire people up even more. Everyone wanted to become involved as a tribute to his efforts. Fox died on June 28, 1981 at the age of 22. I came across this clip regarding his Marathon of Hope and thought it was interesting.

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