Harry’s Spring Run-Off has always held a special place in my heart. As the daughter of a prostate cancer survivor, Harry’s Spring Run Off is an annual family bonding tradition that me, my parents, and my sisters look forward to.
I’ll never forget sitting at the kitchen table, having just finished dinner, and hearing my dad say “I have cancer.” It was the very last thing I expected to hear from my health-conscious, flax-loving, greens-eating dad. Three things became clear at that table: the cancer was in the early stages, surgery was imminent, and we would get through this as a family.
My dad was very lucky as his surgery went well and this year marks 5 years cancer free! If we thought my dad was health-conscious before, he now juices daily, is 80% vegetarian (following my lead) and doesn’t go to bed without drinking his matcha green tea. Did you know that matcha tea has one of the highest levels of antioxidants? Higher than pomegranates and dark chocolate and blueberries! Truth – you can read it here.
In addition to celebrating health, we also chose to celebrate fitness and activity with Harry’s Spring Run Off! Every year we register early for the run because it always sells out. My parents post a countdown on their fridge at home. My sister and I train for the 8K run and my dad walks the 5K. Two years ago we fundraised over $1000 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (official charity of the run) in honour of all the families and brave fathers who have faced and will face prostate cancer in the future.
Running and walking together as a family has made us stronger and I am so grateful that every year we have this wonderful event to look forward to! From the course that runs through beautiful High Park (ending with the killer Spring Hill) and the amazing volunteers who cheered us on every step of the way, to the very nice technical t-shirts and the much-needed toques handed out at the finish line, this race is a great kickoff to the spring running season.
Seeing my dad cross the finish line is an emotional moment for us all. This year I captured it on Vine and I can’t stop watching it.
— Jenna Pettinato (@jennapettinato) April 6, 2013