Matthew Chung | Toronto Star | Sept 13, 2007
In April 1980, Toronto Maple Leafs captain Darryl Sittler was in all-star shape, running 10 kilometres a day during the off-season. So the all-star forward was amazed when he picked up a Toronto Star and first saw the young athlete Terry Fox running his "Marathon of Hope." He could hardly believe that the 21-year-old with one prosthetic leg was running, on average, a marathon-distance 42 kilometres a day to raise money for cancer research in a run across Canada. "I was in awe of him," Sittler, 56, said recently. "Most people don't do a marathon in their life and he was doing one every day." Sittler would soon find out that Fox also thought highly of him. So began a relationship between the hockey star and the runner that continues long after Fox's death in 1981 from cancer. "For such a short life, (Fox) certainly left his mark," Sittler said. "Here was a guy who had an ambition and a dream and a goal and he took the initiative to start it." The pair first met when Fox asked if he could meet the Leafs' star during his run through Ontario. "I wanted to meet him probably more than he wanted to meet me," Sittler said. In June 1980, three months and 3,500 kilometres into his journey, Fox was resting in Toronto's Four Seasons hotel. Though he'd wanted to meet Sittler, he didn't know the future hall of famer was coming until Sittler strolled into Fox's hotel room wearing a Marathon of Hope T-shirt.
"Anybody want to go for a run?" Sittler asked.
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