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3 LESSONS ABOUT COURAGE FROM A CANADIAN HERO NAMED TERRY

By June 29, 2014 11 Comments

Slide1Terry Fox passed away at the age of twenty two on June 28, 1981, but not before he ran into the hearts of millions of Canadians like me.

I’ve run a marathon – I know how it feels to push yourself beyond what you feel is possible. Terry ran a marathon everyday. For 143 days. On one good leg and one artificial one made of fiberglass and steel.

After eighteen months and running over 5,000 km to prepare, Terry started his coast-to-coast run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980…with very little fanfare.

He Ran Until He Couldn’t

He ran against 40 mile-an-hour winds,
…through 38C days with high humidity,
…when he was run off the road.
…through the blisters and cramps and constant pain,
…with a grimace that betrayed the intensity required to achieve his dream of crossing Canada and raising a $1 for every Canadian, for cancer research.

Terry ran with an optimism that was fueled by tenacity and a competitive drive.

He ran on until he couldn’t run anymore.

An Nation Inspired

On September 1st, after 5,373 km, Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario because cancer had taken root in his lungs. A cancer that would claim his life.

An entire nation was stunned and saddened.

At his passing, The Prime Minister of Canada summed up the feelings of Canadians in the House of Commons, “It occurs very rarely in the life of a nation that the courageous spirit of one person unites all people in the celebration of his and in the mourning of his death. Terry gave far more to his country than his country could give to him.”

Terry’s Epitaph

“He made his too short life into a marathon of hope and courage.”

An 83-kilometre (52 mile) section of the Trans-Canada Highway, between Thunder Bay and Nipigon, is renamed the “Terry Fox Courage Highway” in Terry’s honor.

Everybody needs a highway of courage to travel in life.terry-foxhighway2

3 Lessons About Courage From A Canadian Hero Named Terry

1. Faith will enable you to run a marathon of hope on a highway of courage. Terry had a sincere faith in Jesus. He was introduced to faith by a friend named Rika, who encouraged him to read the New Testament Gospels.

“I really believe that I’m not going to lose even if I die, because it’s supposed to be the Pearly Gates I am going through. I can’t lose out. The situation I’m in right now, I could be down, I could be depressed, I could be out of it. I could be feeling sorry for myself…but I’ve got to have hope.”

2. Courage will give your dreams wings to soar. “How many people do something they really believe in? I just wish people would realize anything is possible if you try.”

Olympic champion, Kristina Groves, credits Terry’s influence for her successes. “I never strayed in my belief that I could make it to the Olympics. He still inspires me.”

3. Courage is a by-product of doing what makes you happy. “Through my whole run I thought about the meaning of life. Its not wealth – I don’t have any wealth – and its not fame – I’m famous but it hasn’t changed my life. On my run when I got emotional it was because I was happy.”

It’s easy to see Terry as a hero because everyone can see something of themselves in his struggle. Its inspiring to think that our own wills could triumph over adversity like he had. His heroism was within our reach and any of us could aspire to the attitude of excellence he displayed.

APPLICATION: How has Terry Fox inspired you? Have you participated in a Terry Fox Run? Please leave a comment below.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 27 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 38 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three gorgeous daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Tammy says:

    I remember Terry Fox as a kid. Reading this today has brought me inspiration and to some tears. I’m 44 and I’m training for my first marathon so this really helped me.
    I have some fear because some pains are popping up and trying to hold me back and I read only 1% of the population runs a marathon. The fact he ran one every day…. ? WOW!!!! I don’t think I remembered that fact. So glad I read this. Thank-you for it. Terry lives on!

  • bob jones says:

    Tammy, that is awesome that you are going to run a marathon. I am only running 5-8km a day and I look back and wonder how I trained by running 25-30km on training runs. That takes resolve and perseverance. Have you tried glucosamine for joint pain? That helped my knees survive. Glad Terry’s memory inspired you. Keep running! Cheering you on!!

  • Carole Schlachta says:

    First, we have to find that courage.
    I found my courage in The Lord.
    Then I understand and then do I remember He is, the light, in my present darkness.
    I learn that by reading God’s Living Word. It washes over my mind and by belief, into my heart.
    Lastly, One of His many promises is that Jesus is my strength in my weakness.
    For that reaso I know He will never foresake me.
    Thank you Lord.

  • bob jones says:

    That’s a great thought about the “Word washing over your mind.” People can be discouraged by the little they may remember of what they read from the Bible. But God’s Word makes us clean, Jesus says. Just like water through a sieve – no water remains but the sieve is clean because of the water going through it. Its easiest to be courageous when we don’t have the “stuff” of life stuck to us.

  • Tammy says:

    God is so good, he led me to someone with the wisdom to know I was lacking in Magnesium. Which created many knots throughout my body. Apparently 80% of the population is walking around low in this mineral and it causes so many problems, muscle, headache, lack of energy, etc. It’s like a miracle happened only after a day and 1/2 of taking it.

    I will keep the glucosamine in mind. Thank-you Pastor Bob. I’m impressed the distance you’re running daily, wow!
    Have a good one! Be blessed abundantly in health and prosperity too. 🙂

  • adena lowry says:

    Sometimes running can be so beautiful. You take one more step and you are closer to your goal – just like that, and with every step you are almost there, to your finish line. One more step…. That’s how I feel like I can get through tough times, little by little, one more step, and then before you know it, your through to the other side. Running is so courageous, just putting on the shoes, stepping outside, and breathing in. I have to remember to do the same in life, to put on my shoes of peace, and step out in God’s peace and provision, and breathe.
    I ran the Disney marathon a few years ago. A half marathon followed by a full marathon – 63 km in 2 days. It was crazy, but the training was even more ridiculous. I remember just being happy to run my last training run in the dead of winter in Alberta, since the race is in January in Florida. Sometimes the training can be harder than the actual race. But it’s the race that keeps us moving forward.
    “I will run the race, until I see His face”. 🙂 Thank you Pastor Bob for such an amazing message and reminder of the blessings we have in our own marathon of hope.

  • bob jones says:

    Disney is said to be “the happiest place on earth.” There can be pain in the happiest of places when you’re running a marathon. I can relate to your “training” experiences. But didn’t it feel so good when you ran AND completed the 63km? Makes you glad for all the endurance training. Thanks for joining the conversation, Adena and for the encouragement. Run on!

  • Tammy says:

    Yes, thank-you booth 🙂

  • Tammy says:

    both! lol

  • Tammy says:

    I did it, I did it – LOL I made it yesterday. I did buy some glucosamine thank-you. By the grace of God I made it through. Thanks for your helpful and encouraging timely blog… Holy Spirit through you is loud and clear 🙂 Blessings

  • bob jones says:

    Way to go Tammy!! That is exciting and a great accomplishment. Keep going!

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