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Posted March 16, 2008 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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Cuban News Agency

The slower ones made it to the finish line in front of the Kid Chocolate sports center in Havana either walking or in wheelchairs, half an hour after Radio Reloj radio station gave the signal at 10am this Saturday for the 10th Terry Fox Marathon of Hope to begin simultaneously in some 5000 locations throughout Cuba.
In all 169 municipalities of the country and the tourist resorts of Varadero, Cienfuegos, Ciego de Avila and Holguin, volunteers ran to raise funds for cancer research and pay homage to Terry Fox, who pioneered a cross-Canada run to raise money for this purpose in 1980.

The president and scientific director of Canada’s Terry Fox cancer research center, Victor Ling, and the president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Michael Chambers, attended the run in Havana.

Cuba’s Marathon of Hope, as Terry Fox’s historic run was originally called, boasts the largest number of participants outside of Canada.  Last year over one million people participated for no other prize than the joy of promoting a healthier life style.

Proceeds worth $140,000 from previous Terry Fox Runs in Cuba have been allocated to research at the National Oncology and Radiology Center.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on March 16, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I have never heard of this in all the years that I have been covering Cuba.

    Does anyone know about this? It seems odd to me that the Cuban government would let that many foreigners into the country for ANY organized event let alone one that is spread over 5000 locations in Cuba???

    Also, why would a marathon run be spread out over 5000 locations?

    This story makes no sense.


    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on March 16, 2008 by lee

    i was in Cuba at this time the past two years, never heard a thing. my wife (Cuban) just recently got out and she said it’s very unlikely.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on March 16, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Thanks. So I wonder why this is a news story from the Cuban News Agency. I know it’s all propaganda but never 100% fabricated.

    Cuba consulting services

  4. Follow up post #4 added on March 16, 2008 by lee

    just spoke with my in laws in Cuba. it is partially true. they said in Havana up to two thousand people ran. this really surprised me, i’m a triathlete and in all my training runs in Havana only once did i see another runner on the street. they said several other provinces participated, but they laughed at the 5000 location story. maybe 5. a few bikes and wheelchairs also ran. some tourist also participated. i’m shocked.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on March 16, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Thanks for the insight. Hard to believe this story.

    I guess it’s a good story. I don’t understand why the ridiculous exaggeration was added. No one would believe it.

    Cuba consulting services

  6. Follow up post #6 added on March 21, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    More info from the Cuban News Agency

    Terry Fox Center’s President in Cuba for Marathon of Hope

    Havana, March 13.-  The President and scientific director of Canada’s Terry Fox cancer research center, Victor Ling is in Havana to attend the 10th Marathon of Hope scheduled for March 15.

    Victor Ling is going to give a lecture at the Cuba-Canada Workshop on Cancer at the Hotel Nacional, in Havana.

    Also present on the Terry Fox Run on Saturday along with Ling will be the president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Michael Chambers, who arrived at Havana on Wednesday.

    Carlos Gattorno, director of the organizing committee of the Race, told ACN, that some 30,000 people have volunteered to participate in the run, with the longest stretch being 3 kms and the shortest 1 km.

    The signal will be given at 10 am on March 15 through the national radio station Radio Reloj to start at the same time in all the municipalities of the country, as well as rural and mountainous communities.

    More than 5,000 runs are expected to take places throughout the country, said Gattorno.

    In addition, foreign visitors have been invited to join the run as well in all the tourist facilities of the island, whose most important tourist market is Canada.

    Gattorno explained that some of the objectives of the race were to promote healthier habits, improve the quality of life of the people and raise awareness of the importance of the fight against cancer.

    He said the run will contribute to spread in Cuba the spirit and tenacity of the young Canadian Terry Fox, who made a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research.

    As a consequence of the cancer in his knee, Fox’s right leg was amputated when he was only 18 years old. Three years after losing his leg, the young athlete decided to run from coast to coast in order to raise money for cancer research. He ran 42 Km a day for 143 days before being forced to stop in September, 1980. Ten months later he died.

    The Terry Fox Run is a non-competitive event, and anyone can participate. People can either run or walk, go in wheel chairs, skates or bicycles.

    The funds collected during the event are used in Cuba for breast and uterine-cervix cancer research, as those are the most common type of cancer among Cuban women.

    Cuba consulting services

  7. Follow up post #7 added on February 07, 2009 by Reiki_22

    We are looking to go to Cuba this March 2009. Does anyone know if the Terry Fox race is happening this year? If so, when and please confirm if it is in Havana or another city? I only find 2008 info. Txs

  8. Follow up post #8 added on March 09, 2009 by Canadian jazzfan

    The Terry Fox Run is on MArch 21st at 10 am.  Contrary to what most people say here, the Marathon of Hope is actuall very big in Cuba and Cuba raises more money per capita than any country other than Canada.  I will be there!

  9. Follow up post #9 added on March 10, 2009 by grant

    From a Canuck: This run has been held in Cuba for many years now. All over the world in fact.  Terry did us all proud!

  10. Follow up post #10 added on March 10, 2009 by grant

    Dear Publisher: Not foreigners but cubans in the run!

  11. Follow up post #11 added on September 18, 2011 by wendyholm

    I had to laugh when I read the post about “why would people go to Cuba to run…” The people running are CUBANS. Accompanied by the odd Canadian visitor lucky enough to be there at the time.  This is a very real event held every year.  It happens as far as i know in most major cities but always in Havana. I to was amazed when I first encountered this…  Why would they run? I thought?  For a Canadian?  I asked some Cuban friends.  “For respect” they said. Canada and Cuba have had a very positive relationship for over 65 years. Prominent in Cuban history is the name of a Canadian (embarassingly I am having to look for it) who over a hundred years ago fought alongside Cubans for Cuba’s independence.  They saw Terry Fox as someone who wouldn’t give up, very much part of the Cuban ethic.  And they genuinely respect what he did.  The Canadian Embassy regularly participates.

  12. Follow up post #12 added on September 18, 2011 by wendyholm

    LAST COMMENT:  smile

    Re the post “why would a marathon event be spread out in 5000 locations?  it makes no sense!” this is because it is done at the COMMUNITY level.  All communities - large and small - organize a run. 

    Canada opened an embassy in Havana 65 years ago, but our commercial relationship with this tiny island country began in 1903 when a Cuban commercial office was opened in Yarmouth Nova Scotia.

    And the valiant Canadian who fought for Cuban Independence from Spain was of course William Ryan.  He was put to death on the high seas Nov 4, 1873 by the Spanish as he was delivering provisions to Cuban independence fighters.  He reached the rank of Brigadier General with the Government of the Republic in Arms.  Prior to this, he fought with the Union Army in the American Civil War.  Ryan’s travels to New York caused him to meet and embrace the Cuban independence movement.

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