The last several days have been emotional ones for Bruce Gordon, the Saskatoon cop-turned-lawyer and hard-driving athlete who recently learned he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
On June 29, he was called to the bar in a special ceremony. He also had a police gym named after him.
And on Saturday morning, hundreds of people filled the city's Avalon Park to take part in a crossfit-themed flash workout in his honour.
"It's just amazing," said Gordon as friends and strangers performed squats, pushups and lunges in unison behind him.
"I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness. Not just today. Today is amazing, but all the support we've received ever since we started telling the news," he said.
Before the workout began, Jason Cain, the owner of Rebox Crossfit 306 — one of several crossfit groups taking part Saturday — laid out the regimen to be performed.
"The numbers were really indicative of what Bruce stands for," he said.
The workout, carried out by groups of four (to reflect Bruce's family of four) consisted of:
- 11 burpees (Gordon's been a member of the crossfit community since 2011).
- 28 pushups (that's how many years he was a member of the Saskatoon Police Service).
- 62 squats (Gordon was born in Marsden, Sask., in 1962).
- 82 lunges (1982 was the year he became captain of the Saskatoon Blades hockey team).
- 11 rounds (Gordon completed the Ironman triathlon is as many hours).
"Crazy fun," said Gordon's wife, Chris, of the event, adding added that the crowd assembled included not only crossfit practitioners but fellow cyclists, triathletes and cops.
"It's fun to be here and see everybody and we hope that we're able to touch base with the majority of people here," she said.
There was a touch of bittersweetness to the event.
Reagan Wildeman, who addressed the crowd, said Gordon would not be doing the exercises as he recently began chemotherapy treatments and needs to reserve his strength.
But she said "he will take double guns, bullhorns, kisses and all those kinds of things so you can show your support for him."
Cain said Gordon's mental resolve remains unbreakable.
"If you know Bruce, and I've seen him push through incredible obstacles, to be like Bruce means to be able to persevere through anything — to never let life take you down."