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Home to Home Run for charity: Sault man logging marathon a day from B.C. to Ontario

Rick Fall is running a marathon a day from British Columbia, where the 61-year-old is originally from, to his home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The Home to Home initiative is to raise money for two charities, and Fall says participating in the Terry Fox Run sparked the idea.

Rick Fall, 61, plans to put in at least 42 km each outing over 4 months

Rick Fall, 61, is running at least a marathon a day from Victoria in B.C., where he used to live, to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., to raise money for two charities. His wife is driving this RV while he's hitting the road. (Fallorick.com)

Rick Fall ran a marathon in British Columbia on Monday. The 61-year-old finished another 42 kilometres on Tuesday and Wednesday, and aims to keep that pace for another 100 days.

The retired teacher lives in Sault Ste Marie, Ont., but is originally from B.C. Over the next few months, he says, he'll run from Victoria to the Sault to raise money for charity.

"It's going great. It feels like I could go forever today, but I'm going to definitely take a break I think," Fall told Morning North host Markus Schwabe on his first day of running. At that point, Fall had already run more than 19 kilometres.

He wants to average 42 kilometres a day, the distance for a marathon.

Inspiration from Terry Fox 

Fall got the idea to run across the country 10 years ago, when he and his wife were involved in the Terry Fox Run, which raises funding for cancer research and awareness, in Sault Ste. Marie. At that time the event organizer mentioned how they'd like to complete the run initiated by Fox in 1980, from Thunder Bay, Ont., to Victoria.

Fox was forced to halt his Marathon of Hope in Thunder Bay in August 1980 after his cancer returned. He died in June 1981, without completing his goal to run across Canada.

At first, Fall considered running from Thunder Bay to Victoria.
Fall, who lives in Sault Ste. Marie, hopes to complete his five-province run in four months. (Fallorick.com)

"But then I thought well no, I don't want to make it look like I'm taking over Terry Fox's legacy," he said. 

"So I though I'd do something different and go from Victoria to Thunder Bay, and then I thought what the heck, why not go all the way home from Victoria to Sault Ste. Marie.

"That's why it's called Home to Home."

Fall is on the cross-provincial journey with his wife, who is driving the RV while he runs his daily marathon lengths.

"We are staying self-isolated in our RV. The only reason why we need to go out of that is me for running — and I'm staying away from outsiders — and fuel and groceries, if needed we'll phone ahead and do curbside pickup. 

They are able to promote the run through social media and the website.

Originally, Fall had planned to begin the run in 2020, but the start of the COVID-19 pandemic postponed it by a year. He had been hoping he wouldn't have to delay it this year.

"I thought I may as well do it while I still think I can, because in a year or two I think won't be able to."

Fall said he decided to take on the long-distance run both because he is a runner and cancer has touched his life.

2 charities to receive donations

His mother and his niece died as a result of the disease. But before her death, his niece had been granted a wish from Make a Wish Canada.

That's why Make a Wish as well as Childhood Cancer Canada are both receiving donations from Fall's Home to Home Run. His goal is to raise $300,000, to be split between the two foundations.

A spokesperson for Make-A-Wish Canada in Vancouver says it appreciates fundraising efforts like the one Fall has started, especially since charitable donations have taken a hit during the pandemic.

"When Rick first approached us about his run, we thought that his idea was both unique and truly inspiring," said Stuart Chase in an email to CBC Sudbury. "We have thousands of wishes currently waiting to be granted, along with a $16-million shortfall.

"What Rick is doing is going to help us gain ground on the needs that we have right now, to keep granting wishes" to critically ill children.

You can follow the Home to Home journey at fallorick.com, where online donations can be made.

When Rick Fall says "gotta run!" he means it. He's running all the way from Victoria B.C. to Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario. The run is a cancer-related fundraiser. We caught up to him on day one of his marathon. 8:39

With files from Markus Schwabe

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