Many people both young and old brushed up against Terry Fox during his Marathon of Hope but one of the most interesting was his best friend, Doug Alward. Terry and Doug had been through a lot before the Marathon of Hope even began. Doug was Terry’s running buddy and his high school sports buddy. When the Marathon of Hope started only Doug was with Terry day in and day out as they demolished the miles across Newfoundland.

Ron Calhoun made sure that the whole team recognized Doug’s tremendous contribution and often mentioned it himself. He made sure Doug was recognized whenever possible and he “instructed those helping along the way to include Doug in the plans being made for Terry.” (The Man Behind the Marathons, p. 21.)

“After crossing into New Brunswick the team learned that Saint John, a major city in the southwest part of the province, had not organized anything for them. The team put this disappointment out of their minds, as Terry still had to reach Fredericton first. His stump had shrunk because he’d lost weight and the bucket that his stump was supposed to fit into became too large. The knee joints in the artificial legs wore out and had to be repaired. Terry’s sleep was fitful at this point and the lack of paved shoulders meant he had to run on the highway. He felt the danger every day, as did the crew.

Terry and Doug turned their thoughts back to the lack of response from St. John as they were approaching that city. They decided Terry would run right down the main street and Doug would follow in the van honking for attention. They would be rebels and stir up noise. As Terry said, ‘People will know Terry Fox ran out of his way to Saint John for a reason!'”

Chapter Three, The Man Behind the Marathons by Elaine Cougler.

Doug was a clever and constant best friend to Terry and, in spite of the occasional disagreement, saw his friend through the trials of the run and the times after. In Quebec Terry, Doug and Terry’s brother Darrell, who had joined the Marathon of Hope by then, often had to move the marathon to back roads. The Sureté du Quebec was worried about the traffic and danger to Terry. This meant extra planning and a loss of visibility so that the donations were very small.

By the time they made it to Ontario, Bill Vigars had come on board for that province and, a master of planning, he changed the course of the marathon.

“On Ontario’s busy highways, momentum picked up and Calhoun’s wave began to happen. Money poured in where Terry was, where he had been, and where he was going. That momentum affected the province of Quebec and donations rose significantly….Terry became the closest thing Canada had ever had to a rock star. People wrote songs for him, he had a police escort, teenaged girls followed him and the media loved him. Terry’s was a good news story and Ron Calhoun’s dream was coming true. The money rolled in, sometimes as much as $20,000 a day….Ron….drove to Gananoque and joined Terry’s group for a couple of days and even took his running shoes to run a couple of miles behind the young hero.”

Chapter Three, The Man Behind the Marathons by Elaine Cougler.

In Toronto Bobby Orr and Darryl Sittler, two famous Canadian hockey players shared the dais with Terry. Each presented Terry with a team shirt and Terry was ecstatic. Sittler said, “I’ve been around athletes a long time and I’ve never seen any with his courage and stamina.”

Many people met Terry across Ontario and every day brought new excitement. In Thamesford, Ron’s home town, Terry attended a reception at the Calhoun home and then went on to run the next day, as usual. Through it all, Terry ran, the team did its work and Ron Calhoun managed it all mostly from his office in London.

Terry and Ron in Thamesford, Ontario

“Terry’s birthday party over, Ron had gone back to London to take up his never-ending work in his office. He tried not to worry about Terry but his thoughts would not be suppressed. He knew that the highway through Northern Ontaio was lonely and unpopulated with little traffic and usually no people along the roadside. Bill commented that each day Terry psyched himself up to go out and ace the challenges again, and each day he seemed to have a little less energy to draw on.”

Chapter Three, The Man Behind the Marathons by Elaine Cougler.

[Stay tuned for Part IV on April 22, 2020]