- BC Games
Longtime Fox Run volunteer finally gets a chance to participate
Barb Harris has helped make Burnaby's Terry Fox Run happen for the past nine years. But it wasn't until last year that she finally had a chance to enjoy the fruits of her labours.
Harris put down the large map she used to help guide participants and walked the Run's two-kilometre loop through Central Park. The smiles and laughter of fellow walkers and runners, the sight of young families enjoying the event, the encouragement of volunteers filled her with pride.
A longtime volunteer on the field hockey pitches around the Lower Mainland as a coach and organizer, Harris channeled her boundless energy into the Terry Fox Run after she saw an ad in a local newspaper seeking assistance to keep the local event running. She helped put up signs and on run day ensured the event moved smoothly.
The next year Harris became the site coordinator. That meant she was responsible for everything from signage and name tags, to managing the flow of participants through the registration process, to designing the route of the run itself.
In 2005 Harris was instrumental in getting the parks commission to designate a five kilometre route of existing trails and paths through the park as the Terry Fox route.
Putting on the Terry Fox Run every year requires a great deal of resourcefulness says Harris. With a shoestring budget organizers scrounge donations of everything from coffee and donuts to tents to communications systems from local businesses and community organizations. Signs are designed to be reused. And readily available equipment like the steeplechase hurdle at Swangard is repurposed in imaginative ways.
It all adds up to create an event that really wears its connection to the community on its sleeve, says Harris.
"It's so inclusive," she says. "You can come and just feel part of the run."
Now 78, Harris has dialed back her involvement with pulling the run together. Her main duty for next Sunday's run will be posting the map that shows the trails through the park that comprise the 10, five and two kilometre routes. She's also the captain of her own fundraising team, the Harris Harriers, that she hopes will raise $1,000 for cancer research.
She's looking forward to being able to walk the course again, soaking in the happy vibe.
"It's very emotional," says Harris. "Everyone feels so good to have done something."
The 33rd annual Burnaby Terry Fox Run takes place at Swangard Stadium on Sept. 15. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., and the run begins at 10:20 a.m.