October 22nd, 2021

Man running across Canada for children’s cancer

By KELLEN TANIGUCHI on May 21, 2021.

Rick Fall is running across Canada to raise money for Make-A-Wish Canada and Childhood Cancer Canada.--SUBMITTED PHOTO


Rick Fall has been running across Canada since April 12 and spent the last few days running to Brooks, where he’s experienced 30-degree heat, 60-kilometre winds and snowfall. Fall continues to run through all the elements as he raises money for Make-A-Wish Canada and Childhood Cancer Canada.

Fall started a run from Victoria near his hometown of Duncan, B.C., and is jogging his way to his home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. where he’s lived the past 33 years. Fall’s wife Colette has been following in their motorhome where they eat and sleep each day.

Fall has run in 14 marathons – including Boston, New York and Berlin – and the couple has been involved with the local Terry Fox run in Sault Ste. Marie for years.

“I wanted to stick with the cancer theme … and I thought why not do it with children’s cancer because I’ve been working in the school system in Sault Ste. Marie and I’ve seen a number of children suffering with cancer and some have succumbed to it,” he said. “I thought why not push that a little bit more realizing children’s cancer research is very unfunded, so I thought I’d stick with that.”

As a teacher for 17 years, Fall has seen children with cancer first hand, but he’s also experienced the disease close to home. His niece was a recipient of Make-A-Wish which gave him the thought of including the foundation in his fundraising.

The 61-year-old says the run is something he feels he can do and he enjoys it, so why not help people at the same time.

“I’ve had blisters on my feet, and I’ve had some pulled muscles when I’m running here and I get to a point where I think I’ll heal and I’ll make my way through it, but the children and recipients of these two foundations, they can’t,” said Fall.

A typical day on the road includes a protein heavy breakfast and lots of hydration. Fall says he breaks his run into five-kilometre segments where he will stop, walk and hydrate at every break. He says breaking up the run makes the day go by faster, including his 47 kilometres on Wednesday.

Weather in the Hat and across Alberta has been changing constantly but Fall says he came prepared for the elements. From heavy running jackets to running tights and sweatpants, he’s packed it all.

On the 30-degree days, Fall drank a lot more water and on the days the wind picked up he even had to stop running because it wasn’t safe. He adds the snowfall on Thursday didn’t hinder him too much.

“Today, the weather was doable. I was prepared for all weather I just wasn’t expecting it after those two days of 30 degrees,” he said. “I was expecting weather like this more in the mountains and we had ideal weather going through the mountains.”

Fall says he will arrive in the Hat some time on Saturday and will take a rest day before running through along the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday morning. He says he will try to get hold of some local running clubs to see if anyone wants to meet and they can run eastbound together on Sunday.

Anyone who wants to make a donation to Fall’s fundraiser can do so at https://www.fallorick.com. Fall has raised more than $40,000 already and he says he’s been notified of a couple new donations and expects to top $45,000 in the next day or so.

“It feels really good and what is really important is the foundations I’m doing it for, the recipients, it’s even harder on them. They’re stuck at home, they have no way of getting out and doing things and with the fundraising efforts down a little bit as it is, these two foundations are really enjoying the fact that I’m able to do this and still fundraise for them.”

Fall expects his run to wrap up some time in August when he’ll be back home in Sault Ste. Marie.

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