'30 for 30' - 'Into the Wind': The first Terry Fox run

Posted Sep 28, 2010 9:00 PM By  

<p>The camper van that Terry Fox slept in during his run across Canada.</p>

A quick review of tonight's "30 for 30" coming up just as soon as I dip my foot in the ocean...

My father was Canadian, and many of my childhood vacations involved heading north of the border to visit my aunts, uncles and cousins on that side of the family. One of my cousins had a set of Value Tales books, a series of inspirational stories for kids where, say, Eleanor Roosevelt would learn the value of caring or Thomas Edison would learn the value of creativity. I knew the names of most of the people who were the subjects of the books, if not their stories, but there was one I had never heard of before: Terry Fox, who learned the value of facing a challenge.  

Since the book about him talked about him being Canadian, I asked my uncle's family if they knew who Fox was, and a weird hush came over the room.

I could tell that he was very important to them, and as I got older I realized how important he was to most Canadians - just mentioning this documentary to my cousins at a family get-together this weekend brought a similar awed hush - and Steve Nash and Ezra Holland's "Into the Wind" does a wonderful job of capturing why.

The thing about the movie is that Fox's story is so compelling, so crazy, so innately tearjerking that Nash and Holland didn't have to do much more than give a straightforward, no-frills account of his attempt to run across Canada on an artificial leg and it still would have been one of the best films in this series. But they did just enough - native Canadian Taylor Kitsch reading from Fox's journal entries, the occasional attempts to recreate Fox's POV - that, along with the moving talking head interviews and the abundant footage of Fox's run, I was pretty much wrecked by the time Fox had to get off the road near Thunder Bay.

The movie doesn't make Fox out to be a saint - just a young, stubborn, idealistic kid who insisted he could do this thing that everyone else understandably thought was insane. Running a marathon a day across Canada is pretty extreme under optimum conditions; factor in an artificial leg not designed for running, then the cancer clearly returning well before he was willing to see a doctor, and it's unbelievable Fox made it as far as he did.

A great kid. A great film.

What did everybody else think?

(Also, before everyone asks next week why there isn't a "30 for 30" post on "Four Days in October," just know that I'm not masochist enough to want to relive the 2004 ALCS again anytime soon. Sox fans and Yankee-haters, enjoy, but I'll be back in two weeks with the excellent "Once Brothers.")

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    Keith
    The story of Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope is one of the most inspiring I have ever heard of. Everyone should know his name and what he did!
    September 28, 2010 at 9:16PM EST
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  • I can't wait to see it tomorrow up here in Canada. I missed the first time they aired it here on Sept 19th.
    September 28, 2010 at 9:17PM EST
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  • You're half Canadian?!!? This changes everything.
    September 28, 2010 at 9:18PM EST
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      Caxton
      Just an incredible story. A marathon a day for 143 days on one leg.
      September 28, 2010 at 9:38PM EST
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    G-Mo
    This was truly an inspiring story, sure to be topped only by next week's story of the '04 Sox' epic triumph over the hated nyy.
    September 28, 2010 at 9:32PM EST
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      Eric
      Are you kidding? There is no way you could possibly compare Terry's story with that of one group of highly paid, healthy athletes beating another group of highly paid athletes, much less suggest it could "top" Terry's achievement.

      I'm a sports fan too, and I can get as caught up in the drama of a rivalry as anyone. But let's get some perspective please.

      And yes I am Canadian, but I don't think that matters.
      September 28, 2010 at 10:18PM EST
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      Gary
      Chill out there Eric, ya hoser! Obviously the sarcasm in my post didn't quite bleed through as clearly as you needed it to, ey?

      Oh well...be sure to check out "Four Days in October" on 30 for 30 next Tuesday night. Or just go watch a replay of Joe Carter's homerun again.

      Peace.
      September 29, 2010 at 3:13PM EST
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    stan
    I had chills for a solid hour.
    September 28, 2010 at 10:02PM EST
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    nic919
    Although I was too young to remember when Terry Fox did his Marathon of Hope, he has become so ingrained in Canadian folklore that all Canadians know who he was and what he stood for. The numerous Terry Fox runs that happen every September across the country continue his legacy and raise money for cancer research. It really is amazing what a young 22 year old started.
    September 28, 2010 at 10:09PM EST
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  • Alan you are a Yankee fan, so you lost some credibility in my eyes... and then you say you are half Canadian, so you are right back to where you started....

    Terry Fox is a Canadian hero.
    September 28, 2010 at 10:31PM EST
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    jrob
    If this doc doesn't stir up emotion, nothing will.
    September 28, 2010 at 11:24PM EST
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  • Richard deitsch from si said the vlade/drazen one is amazing and prob as big a tear-jerker as this one.
    September 29, 2010 at 4:23AM EST
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    stan
    It was superfluous to what the doc wanted to accomplish, but I kind of wanted to hear the reporter's excuse for why he wrote the negative article about Terry not running through Quebec. Wonder if that guy got lynched after it came out.
    September 29, 2010 at 7:12AM EST
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    • I haven't seen it yet (it's showing tonight here) but as a 12 year old living in Quebec back in 1980, I can tell you that all the talk about Terry Fox I remember from back then was positive..

      However you have to remember there was a referendum for the independence of Quebec in 1980 and anglo-franco tensions were heightened and certainly some reporters would have found this the perfect opportunity to interject politics into this story
      September 29, 2010 at 9:57AM EST
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    ZacharyTF
    I can understand why you don't want to watch next week's episode. I'm still debating whether I want to watch the Bartman one at the end of the month. My heart still sinks every time I think back to how close the Cubs were to the World Series in 2003.
    October 1, 2010 at 11:29PM EST
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    Julian
    Every Canadian kid knows of Terry Fox and his story. I'm proud of Canada to embrace what he accomplished and pass it to generations of Canadians to both inspire and continue to bring awareness to cancer. The Terry Fox run participated by every student in Canadian high schools is a testament to his spirit.
    October 2, 2010 at 6:57AM EST
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    ArrrghMyEyes
    As an American kid growing up in the Midwest I had never heard of Terry Fox. I remember seeing ads on HBO for an upcoming movie called The Terry Fox Story and thinkin "that looks interesting". I was 11 years old when it aired and I've never forgotten watching it and weeping as I learned about this incredible person.

    I know his family is critical of parts of that movie but my enduring memories of it concern hope, perseverance, courage, determination and awe.

    Canadians are justly proud to count Terry Fox among them. i remain awed and humbled by him.
    October 2, 2010 at 11:40PM EST
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    Nate
    Just finally caught a replay tonight and I was pretty much torn up from 10 minutes on. I had never heard his story before, but it truly blew me away. One of the bravest and most determind 22 year olds I could ever imagine. Great 30 for 30.

    And I personally can't wait for the next one, aka the greatest comeback in sports history. I'm from MN, and have despised the Yankees since I was old enough to follow baseball. And I find it a little funny Alan that you Yankee fans haven't gotten over 2004 yet due to the fact that I don't know...you won the world series last year!?!? Along with the other 20 some you already had!?!? I'm hoping that maybe some bad karma can carry over to Weds and the Twins can have a chance to finally beat the Yankees, buuut I'm not getting my hopes up. So quit crying, at least your team can make it past the first round.
    October 5, 2010 at 12:27AM EST
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    C. Schilling
    I find it interesting that a review of all the other "30 for 30" episodes (including the Steinbrenner one) was posted here at exactly 9:00 p.m., immediately after it aired. Still waiting for your review of "Four Days in October" Alan. Still can't stomach it, eh?

    October 6, 2010 at 1:26PM EST
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      sepinwall
      You might want to go back and re-read what I wrote above, Curt. And then feel free to read Fienberg's 4 Days review:
      http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/the-fien-print/posts/tv-review-30-for-30-four-days-in-october
      October 6, 2010 at 1:29PM EST
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    Vincent
    As a Canadian of a certain vintage, I recall the actual event (which was very much a sidebar story until Terry hit Ontario) and our whole country celebrating those really great moments in Ottawa, Toronto and then all of us reacting to the shot to the gut when he suddenly had to stop and fight cancer again.

    Over the years there have been several documentaries and at least one movie that did a great job of telling the story and capturing the moments so I was really looking forward to what the Nash/Holland version would add to this iconic story. As you noted, what they did that elevates this version above the many others is that they allowed the warts and raw emotions come through and it makes Terry AND Doug's story that much more remarkable...the sheer hubris and guts of two young guys to take on this, even now, seemingly impossible task. Unlike other versions, Doug is featured prominently and is able to recount (with obvious affection) their highs and lows. We had always heard about Terry's journal but hadn't heard it woven right into the story as it unfolded.

    Canadians are not known as chest beaters...and I can so imagine the 'hush' that would have been elicited by your innocent inquiry, Alan.
    Another guy, we are all really proud of is Steve Nash who has done is doing a lot more than just playing great basketball. Like his mentor, he is a class act as evidenced by the youth basketball program in Vancouver bearing his name.

    Finally for those who don't know this, Terry's goal was to try to raise the equivalent of $1 for every Canadian or about $20 million. 30 years later, the number is half a billion dollars and counting.
    October 6, 2010 at 10:11PM EST
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    Ross
    Finally saw this tonight, and it truly was an amazing story. Just a perfect treatment of the subject, at least in the eyes of someone who previously knew nothing about Terry Fox. And yes, I was also torn up at the end.
    December 1, 2010 at 3:02AM EST
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