Monday, September 29, 2008

Good Morning Manitoba!!...

"It is always easier to talk about change than to make it.  It is easier to consult than to manage."
                         -Alvin Toffler

Ladies, and gentlemen, boys, and girls, after nearly three months Terry and I are entering a new province- MANITOBA!!  It is unfortunate the streak of meeting Premiers was broken by Premier McGuinty, in our own home province, but there were many great milestones achieved over such a large province that will never be forgotten.  Thank you!
Last Tuesday,  Terry and I had the opportunity to meet Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May, in Sioux Lookout, on her Cross Canada Rail Tour.  I introduced myself, along with Terry, and explained what we were doing.  To be quite honest, I believe we had a new Run The Dream first- I was hugged by a politician!
Last Friday, Terry and I run and rolled into Kenora.  Our last major stop in Ontario.  We would like to thank the mayor and many members of council for greeting us.  By the end of day Friday, and 55 kms, not even a flat tire on Terry's chair could keep us from getting to the Manitoba/Ontario border.
Saturday was taken as an extra day off because Terry Robinson was inducted into the North Western Ontario Sports Hall of Fame!  Congrats Terry!

The Dream Continues....And Rolls On......

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Prime Minister Harper Attends Terry's Homecoming!!.....

Running Day 135 on the Autism Awareness Campaign Trail was full of epic moments!  

The hype has been built up for months and the day has finally arrived- Terry Robinson's Homecoming!  The newspaper, television and the entire population of Dryden was on standby. 

7am- The alarm clock goes off and by 8:15am we are running and rolling...

11:30am-We reach the beginning of the town limits and the Junior 'A' Dryden Ice Dogs hockey team was ready to run the final 2 kms of the day with us.
11:45am- We arrived at the Dryden IGA, for a bbq, where we are greeted by New Prospect Public School.  There are tonnes of signs and loud students chanting- "Terry, Terry, Terry!!".  He is swarmed by all the students giving him 'high fives'!

12pm- We receive confirmation that Prime Minister Harper has heard about Run The Dream and the goal of raising Autism Awareness across the country, as well as the $2.5 million. He would like to meet with us in the afternoon.

2:30pm- Terry and I travel to New Prospect Public School to meet with some of the students, talk to them about the run, and have a Q&A session.  Best question from one of the students- "How old are you Terry? I think you are 61!"
4pm- After getting off the airplane, from Ottawa, Prime Minister Harper, and wife Laureen's first stop is to meet Terry and I at the big "Welcome To Dryden" sign.  It was a brief 10 minute discussion about the Run and Autism Spectrum Disorders but will hopefully pay dividends!

5pm- Terry and I were invited to the Dryden Town Council Meeting, with Mayor Anne Krassilowsky, for a 20 minute presentation about Run The Dream.
5:45pm- Arrive back at the Best Western and head towards my room on the second floor.  To my surprise, the Prime Minister's large security detail is on my floor.  Really nice guys, but wouldn't want to mess with them!

Special thanks to Bill Salonen for organizing the day; to the Robinson family for feeding the dream with lots of carbs and protein; Police Chief Shane MacKinnon for the escorting the run into Dryden; and the Dryden Best Western for accommodating us.

The Dream Continues......And Rolls On....

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Day of Fall....

"The only constant in life is change."
Everyday is a new day.  A new problem.  A new solution.  A new obstacle.  A new opportunity. Just when you get comfortable a new variable enters the equation which changes everything.  Has this ever happened to you?
Here on the road, running 6 days a week, 5 hours a day can be mentally and physically exhausting. No day has been perfect, but we work with the obstacles and turn them into opportunities.  It is a once in a lifetime experience to see Canada step-by-step and view firsthand how others achieve their dreams and what holds us back.  I'll be the first to admit that wind, rain and other elements bother me sometimes when I run, but after seeing the barriers of what children and families who deal with Autism on a daily basis face, I'd be selfish to think my running issues are real problems.  Quit has never been part of my character and is not in the make-up of individuals faced with the challenge of Autism!  On a daily basis, if you are not directly affected by Autism- Trust me when I say the issue is very real and has a great barrier of misinformation and misunderstanding!  

Today, we will be entering Terry's hometown of Dryden, ON.  The local celebrity is coming home!  I'll be tagging along and reporting back tomorrow..

The Dream Continues...And Rolls On...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kilometre 5,000!!....

New geographical area, new time zone and new milestone!
Off the top of my head I lost count of the distance (275 in 6 days?)  The week started off with a rough headwind.  Terry said it was so strong that it felt like his chair was going backwards!  The good news is that we recovered well!
First milestone of the week, Monday, was reaching the Arctic Watershed.  All the water in this area drains into James Bay and Hudson's Bay, rather then the Great Lakes.  Secondly, on Tuesday, we set our clocks backwards because we were now on Central Standard Time.  In terms of running, this means the sun rises earlier (around 7am) and sets earlier (around 7pm). Almost equal day, equal nights- Fall must be coming soon!
Last, but not least, 5,000 kms was reached about 8 kms northwest of Upsala.  There were no real landmarks- just trees and rocks.  I took the flag off Terry's chair and pretended 5,000 kms would be like the re-enactment of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. Only about 3,500 kms left to go!  

The Dream Continues.....And Rolls On.....

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Canadian Dream...

"Dreams are made if people only try. I believe in miracles...I have to...because somewhere the hurting must stop."
-Terrance Stanley Fox (from the monument in Thunder Bay, ON)We live in a world where HOPE (Happy, Optimistic, Positive Energy) is the rationale for many of the actions we do.  I'll be the first to admit that I hope for a lot of things, such as, everyday, the wind being at my back, blue skies, temperatures around 15 C and Canada being all downhill-But I don't get everything I hope for!  Each day presents its own challenges. 
Over the course of almost 6 months, you come to realize what an actual challenge is.  28 years ago Terry Fox took on his own challenge to tell Canada and the rest of the world that together we can be leaders for improving the life of those individuals who must deal with a cancer diagnosis.  Often, while running, I try to imagine what life would be like without the actions and legacy of Terry Fox.
All too often it is easy to get caught up in one's life and not realize how fortunate we actually are to simply live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.  While on this run- what has bothered me the most is why one of the wealthiest countries in the world cannot provide an adequate strategy, awareness education, research, as well as, support and services to the increasing number of children and families that deal with Autism?  There is a growing gap in this country- those who have access to achieve dreams and those who do not.  My Canada is a country where we all have the ability to achieve dreams!  Everyone's help is needed!  Lets not forget what really matters in life- HOPE! 

The Dream Continues...And Rolls On.....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thunder Bay...

Thursday morning the alarm went off at 6:30am.  Terry and I planned to start at the corner of Highway 17 and Lakeshore at 9am.  Our weatherman reported that lots of rain was in the mid-morning forecast.  Would we beat the rain or would we enjoy a nice drenching? Well, the last two hours was WET!  Terry and I still enjoyed the police escort into town with people wondering why two individuals were running and rolling in the rain.  I thought it made good publicity!
Friday was a rare mid-week day off because of three separate events in the city.  First stop was the George Jeffrey Children's Treatment Centre.  Special thanks to the entire staff for welcoming Run The Dream and touring us around the facility.  Thank you to Zachary (picture above) and Colin for the wheelchair races, floor hockey and soccer game!Next stop was a lunch hour welcome from the Ken Boshcoff, MP and Brian McKinnon, City Councillor.  A nice surprise was seeing Joy and Gerry Seig, from Mississauga, who happened to be traveling home from a two month western Canada camping trip and made an appearance at the civic welcome!Our final Run The Dream Autism Awareness event was held at Lakehead University.  The event was attended by about 100 people in the community and was a nice way to complete the week. The final count of the money raised is still being tallied! 

Special thanks to the organizing committee Barb Ceresino, Frank Pollari, Margie Bettiol, Denise Larouche, Jodi Graham, Ingrid Lingman (Local Chapter President Thunder Bay), Jeff Howie (from Confederation College), Bill Keeler (Lakehead University).

Also, more thank yous to the Airport Travelodge and Memorial Travelodge for being our accommodation hosts while in Thunder Bay!

Other noteworthy events of the week......

We made the FRONT PAGE of the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal today!

The Dream Continues....And Rolls On......

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Rush of Blood To The Head....

This week will be a bit toned down in terms of distance as Terry and I head towards Thunder Bay. After 3 1/2 weeks we finally got to the top of Lake Superior since leaving Sault Ste. Marie. To put that in perspective, it took me 3 1/2 weeks to run all of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.In Nipigon, Terry and I met with Mayor Ken Harvey as well as Derek Felson and Elenor Wang, from Victoria, who started biking across Canada (west to east) on June 19th. While we were eating lunch at a Nipigon restaurant, we all watched Rob Dyer, who is skateboarding across Canada is support of fighting cancer, skateboard right by our window view of the road.
Thunder Bay is close now! You are probably wondering- Who that guy in the maroon sweater? The joke on the road is that this gentlemen was a very famous male model back in Ireland. I'd like to introduce Derek Lowry who joins the road crew until we reach Winnipeg. Derek adds a very special dynamic to the crew....One that we are all still trying to figure out!
The Dream Continues and rolls towards Thunder Bay...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Quality Control....

"Either you run the day or the day runs you."
-Jim RohnUp the hill, around the bend, over the bridge, down the hill, around the bay and up the hill again- That sums up the experience on the north shore of Lake Superior. Patience was a virtue and a lot of mileage was made. Close to 300 kms!

We started the week in White River..ran through Marathon and met with town councillor Terry Fox (Yes, his name is Terry Fox!); ran through Terrace Bay and onto Schrieber where Sheryl O'Reilly had organized a town welcome with councillor Tina Morill.
The week concluded in Rossport, a hidden gem on the north shore! By accident, we conducted a little experiment with Terry's wheelchair batteries. One day we ran 50 kms and thought we had charged the chair overnight but that was not the case the next morning when we started. Instead of changing batteries we decided to do some quality control- Got another 20 kms! 70 kms completed on a single charge!

The Dream Continues....And Rolls On....

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Bear Named Winnie and a 70 km day!!.....

"If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold onto it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality."
               -Dan Millman, Way of The Peaceful Warrior
In August 1914, a trapped Bear Cub was sold for $20 to Canadian Captain Harry Colebourn, in White River, ON while enroute to England during the First World War. He named the bear Winnipeg, in recognition of his hometown, and she gained unofficial recognition as a regimental mascot. Colbourne left Winnie at the London Zoo while he and his unit fought in France; after the war she was officially donated to the zoo. A few years later, a boy named Christopher Robin, would name his favourite stuffed bear after Winnie and the rest is history.
Today, Terry and I ran through White River and for the Labour Day Weekend have been staying in town at the Continental Motel.  The food at their restaurant is some of the best I've experienced on the run.  As the title of the blog suggests, Terry and I did run and roll over 70 kms today.  The evening run north of White River was a very different landscape.  There was a lot of evidence of damage caused by forest fires from a decade ago.  The land is very scarce and barren but new growth is maturing thanks to many tree plant programs over the thousands of acres.

It was a quiet night on Highway 17 so Terry decided to live on the edge!  This is a Run The Dream first and last! Don't try this at home!

The Dream Continues....And Rolls On...From the right side of the yellow line!!