Day 153 October 6, 2011 Burnaby to Vancouver 12km

14 Oct

The finish

I didn’t sleep all that well last night but I was anything but tired when I woke up this morning. David Bell showed up early dressed in a cowboy outfit, at which point I noticed that Russ was similarly dressed. I changed into my running gear in the MCC one last time and we set out to CityTV for Breakfast Television.

On the way there I was mocking Dave about his cowboy outfit and he said it didn’t matter because he wasn’t going to be on TV (little did he know). For the first time this trip I had to have make up put on before going on television. In addition, the make up lady wasn’t thrilled about my cowlick and began attacking it with various products to ensure it stayed down.

BT was a lot of fun and we even got Mike, Dave and Russ on camera quickly as they panned over to look at the two funny looking guys in cowboy outfits. From there we headed over to CBC Radio for the morning show with Rick Cluff. Again a lot of fun, with the security guard commenting on our arrival that we must either be Americans or from Alberta based on how some of us were dressed.

By the time we got back to Trev Deeley’s Motorcycle shop people had begun to arrive. First my family, then my friends, and then 8 motorcycle cops! I had a mic on for the whole run and so Global could hear everything that was being said all around me for most of the day. My sister had managed to get 100 blue shirts made with our logo and slogan on it and we had them all passed out to all who were running. By the time we started running there were quite a few of us, and the crowd would only grow as the morning wore on.

Our first stop was the mayor’s office. On the steps of city hall Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson made a proclamation that October 6, 2011 would be known was “Dr Riley Senft’s Step Into Action Prostate Cancer Awareness Day”!

Our second stop was the Vancouver Prostate Centre where over 100 health care workers and researchers from the centre met us, most in their white coats with blue gloves on. It was the first time today that I felt a little emotional and was at a loss for what to say. Thankfully though my father stepped in and gave an impromptu speech thanking everyone for their commitment. I also had the opportunity to meet Dr Larry Goldenberg, the urologist who performed my father’s surgery.

Our third stop was the new Terry Fox memorial at BC Place Stadium. We had a quick stop there and looked around the memorial. I really like the four statues of Terry, it gives a great representation of his gait. It was another opportunity to stop and talk with some of the people that had joined our growing group of runners. We actually should have stayed longer because we were slightly ahead of schedule but the excitement at finishing got the better of us and we set off a little early.

The police escort through Vancouver was so much fun, the motorcycles blocking traffic on all sides and the confused looks from people on the side of the street. And there were lots of people on the side of the street because it was 12:30pm on a Thursday afternoon on the main streets of downtown so it was great exposure. As we turned onto Burrard St and I could see the ocean I started to get really excited. Everyone who had run with me continued on to the Olympic Cauldron and I stayed back in front of the Vancouver convention centre to give them time to set up. I hung out in the MCC with Dave, trying to stall so that I didn’t arrive too early. When Dave gave me the go ahead to get running again I stepped out and ran up to our police escort and he put his siren on as I approached the cauldron. When I turned up and saw everyone cheering, the cauldron lit and Derek and Lauren holding a big banner at the end, I thought it was as perfect an ending as I could have ever dreamed of.

After saying hi to as many people as I could Mike got up at the podium in front of the cauldron and said a couple of words. Ron DuMouchelles, the CEO of the Vancouver Prostate Centre and Dr Colin Collins a researcher at the centre then spoke. Finally it was my turn and standing up there, looking at all the family and friends that had come out to support me was overwhelming, and I had a hard time keeping my voice from breaking.

I spent the rest of the time talking to everyone I could get my hands on and really enjoying the moment. I was finally dragged away from the cauldron as the crowd dwindled and disappeared although I could have easily stayed for hours. I can’t describe how awesome and worthwhile I think this campaign has been and I just want to take an opportunity to thank everyone for their support. I really couldn’t have done this on my own and the number of people working behind the scenes while I was running is staggering.

We had a big dinner that night to celebrate the end of the run.

Tomorrow I will run across the bridge, joined by my former high school, to the North Shore and finally into the Pacific Ocean!

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