Cuba Holds Terry Fox Run for Life 2011

By Irina Echarry, Photos: Caridad & Elio Delgado

Terry Fox Run 2011, Photo by Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, March 19 — Little Susan doesn’t know who Terry Fox was, but ever since she was born she’s watched her family train hard and run in the marathon that carries the Canadian’s name.

The marathon brings out hundreds of people of all ages, sexes, ideology and races each year, to run a course that includes Prado, Neptuno, Galiano and San Lazaro Streets in Havana.

“You don’t have to run,” says an elderly white haired man. “By walking slowly and just living is enough to help the sick. If the eradication of cancer depended on speed I’d fly. But, now, all I can do is be here, while the doctors and scientists search for a cure.”

It’s ten in the morning and the sun heats up the asphalt. Less organized than in past editions, the people begin the marathon when Radio Reloj sounds the gun.

As always, besides those running and walking, other participants take to the course in wheelchairs, on skates, some on bicycles. People who are ill mix and interact with others who are healthy and show their solidarity with those who suffer the same desease that led Terry Fox to travel the streets and highways of Canada raising funds for cancer research.

Yolexis, a 38 year old Cuban, believes in the event but notes: “There’s a bit of a lie about it. The Majority of the people come here (I’m referring to the young people like me) for personal benefit… to feel good, strong, healthy, not for anyone in particular. It’s an opportunity to run and that’s it.”

Terry Fox Run 2011, Photo by Elio Delgado

However, the Terry Fox Run is not a competition; who wins and losses is not important; what’s important is participating.

The event should be an example to follow that frees us from so much competitive stress. With less competition, children (and adults too) would enjoy their games more, athletes would relax and in general fun, enjoyment and success would change in meaning.

For now, we have this event once a year. Dr.Maria Luisa Figueredo accompanied her patients: “I come as a human being, not as a doctor, that’s why I don’t come in my doctor’s whites. Anybody can fall ill independently of their profession. What this is about is to support, raise conscious, and not feel alien to the problem. And, live a healthy life in all senses.”

It’s also about trying to live in harmony, to socialize to accept others.

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