adidas Orion, Terry Fox & The Marathon Of Hope
When it comes to adidas trainers with both style and substance, the adidas Orion is certainly up there. Made from a lightweight mixture of nylon and suede atop a sleek EVA foam midsole, the heritage runners which have remained relatively under the radar, see a well-deserved moment in the spotlight. Arriving as a one-to-one reissue of their original ’70s silhouette, despite their very good-looking terrace visuals and old-school sensibilities, the true legacy of the trainers lies in their time spent on the feet of non-other than Terry Fox during his courageous 143-day charity cancer run.
Born July of 1958 in Winnipeg, Canada, even from a young age Terrance Stanley Fox showed signs of mental toughness. Characterised by his tenacity and ability to work hard even in the face of adversity, Terry’s mother recalled his well long-drawn-out sessions spent playing with table-hockey or toy soldiers where games would last for hours, much to the amusement of Terry and the dismay of his siblings.
Channeling this attitude through his love of sports, Terry spent most of his life involved in some sort of physical activity, trying his hand at baseball, soccer and rugby during his younger days before eventually focusing his efforts on his passion for basketball. Standing at only 5ft and less than talented at the game, undeterred, Terry tried out for the Mary Hill School Team in a move that would lead him to cross paths with his then coach Bob McGill.
Despite spending much of his first season on the bench, McGill would give Terry a minute in each game as a reward for the hard work which he displayed during training, “If I had told Terry to hit his head against the wall, he would have”, McGill once remarked. Arriving at school early, leaving late, and spending many of his summer days playing 1-on-1 with his friend and fellow teammate Doug Alward, he eventually began to make first-team appearances before becoming a mainstay in the squad in the years that followed. Interestingly it was during this time was Terry’s was first introduced to long-distance running, having been advised to take it up by McGill who thought his build and stature may have suited it better. Not wanting to let his coach down and ignoring his less than positive outlook on the sport, Terry decided to give it a shot planting the seeds of what was to come.
Pursuing his love of sports into University with the hopes of one day becoming a physical education teacher, it was in November 1977 when Terry’s life began to veer in a new and unexpected way. Driving toward his family home he reportedly became distracted by nearby building works, causing him to crash his car into a stationary pickup truck. Writing his vehicle off, Terry luckily managed to emerge largely unscathed aside from a persistent pain in his right knee which continued to flair up until the following year.
After becoming increasingly concerned he decided it was best to get checked over at the hospital, where to his surprise he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a rare cancer that often stems from the leg joint. If such news was not enough for one person to handle, Terry was informed that he not only had to begin what would be a 16-month long chemotherapy regime but that his right leg must be amputated.
In typical Fox fashion this his battle with cancer and loss of one leg didn’t slow him down one bit, in fact, some could say it even had the opposite effect. Given a prosthetic leg, he slowly began the tentative and daunting task of working his way back to physical strength. Walking just three weeks after surgery before playing golf with his father and becoming a member of the national wheelchair basketball team later in the year, which he went on to win three national titles as well as earn the accolade of all-star in 1980.
But despite his love of basketball, it was the world of long-distance running which Terry would lay out his master plan. Having been given a 50% survival rate at the start of his treatment, he discovered that without recent advancements in medical practice his chances would have been at around 15%. Coupled with his time spent undergoing much of his treatment at British Columbia Cancer Control Agency Facility, where he came to know others with battling the disease, he became disheartened at the lack of attention cancer research was being shown. Using this as his fuel and learning that Dick Traum had become the first amputee to run the New York Marathon just the night before his procedure, Terry’s goal became clear and training began.
With time needed for the springs in his artificial leg to reset after each step, it was evident Terry needed some time to grow accustomed to his newfound change in gait. Running around 3107 miles over the course of 15 months and taking part in a 17-mile race in Prince George just 2 years after losing his leg, he finally found himself ready to share his intentions with those closest to him, to which, when Terry’s mother Betty told his father Roland, he simply responded, “when?” The Marathon of Hope had been realised and Fox’s journey across the full length of Canada from the east to the west coast was on.
Hoping that he could not only shed some new light on cancer research but raise at least 1 dollar from each Canadian citizen, Terry Sent a letter to the Canadian Cancer Society where Terry famously wrote, “I’m not a dreamer, and I am not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer. But I believe in miracles. I have to.” Despite their early skepticism, they agreed to support him in his mission but only if he managed to get both sponsorship support and a medical check over before he began. Much to their surprise soon after Terry was back, armed with support from those including adidas, Ford and CEO of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Isadore Sharp, and despite a diagnosis of left ventricular hypertrophy, true to his word Terry began his trek on the 12th April 1980.
Covering around a marathon a day, battling through adverse weather, and dealing with the long list of injuries, strains and stresses that come with running with only one leg, Fox fought his way through 143 days of consecutive running which took him around two-thirds of the way across the country. Initially disappointed with the lack of support and hostility from particularly passing cars during the early portions of the run, Terry’s story soon spread like wildfire and it wasn’t before long before crowds were out in their masses alongside a flood of donations and media coverage.
Working his way through six provinces and 3339 miles, unfortunately on September 1st, 1980 after experiencing a severe coughing fit and chest pains Terry was forced to cut his mission short just outside of Thunder Bay. Driven to the hospital, only after he had run to where there were no spectators as to not let the crowd down, it was discovered that the cancer had returned having spread to his lungs. In the days that followed the support did not waver, a telethon was organised in Terry’s name which raised around $10 million, Isadore Sharp, who had had only recently lost his son to melanoma and remained one of Terry’s biggest supporters throughout, established an annual run in his name. Telegramming the family, Sharp stated, “You started it. We will not rest until a cure for cancer is realized.”
Having raised well in excess of his initial goal and captured the hearts and minds of the world, Terry Fox sadly succumbed to his condition on June 28th, 1981. Honoured through countless statues, street names, and more Terry’s story lives on to this day not only as a remarkable driver of cancer research. The youngest person to be awarded the Order of Canada, named newsmaker of the year and the nation’s top athlete, he was also given the highest award from the province of British Columbia alongside a permanent exhibition in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Through organisations and events such as the Terry Fox Foundation and the annual Terry Fox Run which has now been going for over 40 years, his message remains not only a practical positive force in the world but a symbol of determination, perseverance and human spirit.
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