Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Terry Fox Run in Creemore

Back when the earth was cooling I used to organize the Terry Fox run in Creemore.  I recall set-up being simply a table for registration and another at the 5K turn-around point.  Aid station fare included water and apples, nothing else!  The TFR was subsequently moved to Terra Nova, a small hamlet south of Creemore.  I believe the logic was that it would provide more beautiful scenery and avoid any traffic concerns due to the enormous congestion (up to 3 cars per minute) found in Creemore.

Ironically, the old Creemore route, which included County Road 9, has become rather congested (residents of Toronto:  You are welcome for this humorous interlude) over the years, now 5 cars per minute at peaks.  Unfortunately, the Terra Nova location did not attract many participants, as it is a bit out of the way.  In 2016, only 17 participants enjoyed the event.

Early this year, the Terra Nova TFR organizers Keddy and Eric, approached Lee Anne and I with a proposal to move the event back to Creemore.  Since Keddy and Eric live in Toronto and are in the country only on weekends, they felt that assistance from locals would be of benefit.

I couldn't help but compare the requirements of organizing the Terry Fox Run with that of the Creemore Vertical Challenge.  Not that it was solely a case of sending out a couple of emails and sitting back, but think of it this way:  No trail prep, bibs, prizes and timing.  Even registration is mostly assumed by the Terry Fox Foundation.  And the event day's itinerary looked like it was missing a few dozen key functions:  8:30 - registration, 9:00 - official start, 12:00 - end of event.  One big reason we agreed to help was because there was so little to do!

Sunday, September 17 turned out to be almost perfect weather.  Sunny and a high of about 25.  For the event, we had obtained permission from the county to close intersections along Library Street, which runs north/south in the middle of town.  We hoped that by doing so, Creemorites would become aware of the event, yet not disrupt Sunday morning traffic (again, Toronto, you are welcome).

The biggest stumbling block in hosting a Terry Fox Run in Creemore is getting the word out.  Yes, we placed posters in numerous stores in the area, signage around Creemore, an article in the newspaper and made sure to speak with all our friends and neighbours, but the reality is that without heavy radio and/or televised promotion, it takes time to get the word out, in a small town.  Several people who happened by the event mentioned that they had no idea Creemore was hosting a Terry Fox run.

We expected to draw 20 - 30 people, although I was hoping that more would show up.  I had placed 5 large signs around the Creemore Farmer's market, which is well attended on Saturday mornings.  The market is located at the Station on the Green, the same spot as the start/finish for the Terry Fox run.  Perhaps people would pay attention to the signage and return on Sunday morning for Canada's 150th year?  Not so much!  One cute aside about attendance is that I am very much of the mindset that if a race starts at 9:00, everyone shows up for the start.  I had forgotten that the Terry Fox Run is more of a social event and if you are not able to make it at 9:00, no problem, show up at 10:00 or 11:00!  So I was quite disappointed when only 7 people had started by 9:00.  I thought the event was going to be a bust.  However as the day progressed, people trickled in and by final count, we had about 25 participants, which is reasonable for the first year.

The Creemore chapter of the TFR raised over $1,000 for the foundation, so by that standard, the event was successful.  I would like to thank all who attended.  Organizing the event was also a blast.  Everything needed for the event fit into my car.  For the CVC, I needed 4 trucks!  Event day started at 6:30 for me, with a leisurely breakfast.  Setting up registration, the 2.5K (turn-around) aid station and all the barricades took about 90 minutes.  Tear down started at 11:45 and was complete before 1:00 PM.  By contrast, for the CVC I was up at 4:30 AM and still at it circa 9:00 PM.

Will the Terry Fox run continue in Creemore next year?  You bet!  Are there any reflection items?  Definitely.  Keddy mentioned that we should have placed posters on the barricades, so that people would know why the roads were blocked.  It might be possible to get a few minutes on the radio to promote the event.  I hope to entice a few of the Creemore businesses to help promote the event.  For those familiar with the Creemore Vertical Challenge, no, there won't be 3 kegs of Creemore ale at the finish, sorry!  We could also reach out to the surrounding towns and cities.  Running or walking in Creemore for such a great cause is worth the drive.

I would like to thanks Giffen's Country Market, who donated a bushel of their finest apples for the event.  By the way, Giffen's makes the world's best butter tarts.  Seriously, it is not possible for me to go in their store without acquiring a fix.  Giffens is the turn-around point on our 24K road route and I always carry a few coins.  FYI:  One butter tart = 2 gels.

I would also like to thank Keddy, Eric and their "voluntolds", for helping out with the event.  Our neighbours Jim, Susan and Rory also donated their Sunday morning to help with the aid station and marshalling duties.  It was nice to have a couple of experienced people at the aid station and marshalling.

So circle Sunday September 16, 2018 on your calendar and we hope to see you up in Creetown.


Cheers!

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