British Columbia

Terry Fox 40th anniversary shoe sells out in minutes

The blue Adidas sneakers are replicas of the ones Terry wore during his Marathon of Hope in 1980.

Limited edition replica sneakers Terry wore for 1980 Marathon of Hope snapped up Wednesday morning

Terry Fox wearing one of the 24 pairs of blue Orion running shoes sent to him by Adidas for the Marathon of Hope. Fox ran a marathon a day for 143 days before the return of his cancer forced him to stop. (Terry Fox Foundation)

UPDATE — May 20, 7:25 a.m. PT: The limited edition shoe sold out within minutes Wednesday morning.

Remarkably, when the Terry Fox 40th anniversary commemorative sneakers go on sale Wednesday morning, Fred Fox will be like thousands of others, hovering over his computer, credit card in hand, trying to score a pair of the sweet blue kicks amid what is sure to be a full-on buying frenzy.

It's not that Terry's older brother doesn't have the connections to bypass the madding crowd. He is, after all, a spokesman for the Terry Fox Foundation, which is receiving 100 per cent of the net proceeds.

It's just that the Fox family has always insisted that every possible penny raised in Terry's name go to cancer research.

"It's just the way we've always done things. We we don't think we're any different or any more special than anybody else across the country," said Fox.

40th anniversary Terry Fox commemorative sneaker. (Terry Fox Foundation/Adidas)

Before setting out on his Marathon of Hope in April of 1980, Terry Fox sent impassioned letters to shoe companies asking for support. 

'Crawl every last mile'

"We need your help. The people in cancer clinics all over the world need people who believe in miracles," he wrote. "The running I can do, even if I have to crawl every last mile."

Terry Fox, centre, with friend Doug Alward, left, and younger brother Darrell Fox, right, with the Van of Hope in 1980. To date, over $750 million has been raised for cancer research in Fox's name. (Submitted by Darrell Fox)

Fox was hardly a household name when he sent the letter, the opposite really. A freckle faced 21-year-old amputee from Port Coquitlam, B.C., cold calling businesses he hoped might help fund his cross country campaign for cancer research.

Adidas responded, sending 24 pairs of their blue Orion running shoes and launching a relationship that has lasted to this day. 

The 40th anniversary replica shoe comes with a copy of Terry's letter, shoelaces emblazoned with his quotes, and "Terry Fox" tastefully printed in gold above one of the signature Adidas stripes.

The sportswear giant is also releasing a limited edition T-shirt. The campaign is expected to raise $1 million for the Terry Fox Foundation. 

In 2005, when Adidas released the 25th anniversary shoe at Sport Chek, people lined up and cleaned out the stores in four hours. 

'Probably crazy'

Fred Fox believes with online sales, the entire 40th anniversary run will be snapped up in minutes.

"I think it's going to be amazing and probably crazy.," he said. 

"There's going to be a few disappointed people for sure and I'm going to be on there like everybody else trying to get myself a pair of shoes."

Terry Fox 40th anniversary sneakers retail for $130 and are available in men's sizes only. T-shirts go for $40. Online sales open at 7 a.m. PT Wednesday.

Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope began April 12, 1980, in St. John's, Newfoundland. 

Three years earlier, his right leg had been amputated above the knee after the discovery of a malignant tumour.

Fox ran the equivalent of a marathon, 42 kilometres, every day for 143 days before discovering the cancer had spread to his lungs. The Marathon of Hope ended Sept. 1, 1980 in Thunder Bay.

Terry Fox died in Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster on June 28, 1981, one month shy of his 23rd birthday. 

To date, over $750 million has been raised in his name for cancer research.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?