by Edwin L. Carpenter, Editor – The Dove Foundation
Terry Hitchcock is an amazing individual, having run a marathon some years back after losing his wife Sue to cancer and following the loss of his job. Terry was a single parent who had to live by faith. He eventually wrote A Father’s Odyssey, describing this particular time in his life, and now a DVD about him titled My Run is being released. The Dove Foundation interviewed Terry a few days ago, and his zeal for life and his sense of humor helps a person to realize why he has accomplished the things he has.
Dove: What do you think of this DVD, Terry? Are you pleased with how it turned out?
Terry: (Chuckling) “The only thing I’m not pleased with is how I looked. I remember when the doctors and some runners who were kind of against my doing this said well, if you’re going to do this, you’re going to lose a lot of weight so you better bulk up, so I did. The first time I saw the film I saw myself coming over the rise of the hill, and I was sitting with some friends and I said, ‘Gosh, what tank is that coming down the road!’ You look at yourself and that’s what you look like but you don’t want to believe it! So that’s okay, I’ve lost weight since.”
Dove: It sounds as if you’re a bit of a perfectionist.
Terry: “My wife Mary Ann (I have remarried) said, ‘How do you know if you’re successful when speaking?’ And I said, ‘I count the number of hugs.’ She said, ‘I don’t understand’. I said, ‘You have no idea’. People will come up to me and hug me, and they’ll say, ‘You changed my life tonight.’ That’s what’s really important.”
Terry said he didn’t make any final decisions about the DVD as that wasn’t his role, but he had a say regarding the story and what he felt was important and what he wanted it to look like.
Dove: It seems like there are always obstacles and challenges in life in getting something worthwhile done.
Terry: I have a very strong faith and the many paths I have gone down…as you do it, you learn. You learn more about yourself and about other people around you and so, that’s okay, that’s how we grow.”
Dove: At what point, Terry, after your wife had passed away and you had begun the marathon, did you realize that some good was coming out of those situations?
Terry: Probably not, certainly, at the beginning. When my wife died it was pretty tragic. She was very young, in her early thirties, and I had lost my job a couple of days after her funeral so I had three little kids and no (other) family. You feel like you’re alone against the world. It took me quite a long time to figure out that this was important to do (the marathon) and it came slowly. It wasn’t something with a bright light and the next day I’m changed. No, I first had to know who I was. Would I be a good parent and could I raise my children and after I kind of settled those kinds of questions then one day I was with my kids and I said, ‘You know, I really see what single parents and their children go through. I’ve experienced it and (to his kids) you’ve experienced it, and you know, I kind of want to give back.’ I came up with the idea because Terry Fox was one of my heroes if you will. I admired what he attempted to do, even though he didn’t make it and passed away, I said, ‘Well, maybe I could do something.’ Atlanta to me not only represented the Olympics that year, but a place where two of my children were born. And I said, ‘Maybe I can run home.’ So that was sort of the beginning and being the dreamer that I am , and sort of a marketer, I packaged it in a way that maybe the media would be interested in what I had to say and then foolishly I added, ‘Well, let’s do a marathon a day!’
Dove: There must have been times when you wish you hadn’t said that.
Terry: “Every hour!”
Terry went on to say that he did face loneliness at times during his run and once had a breakdown where he sat and cried for a while, but ultimately it was worth it because to this day there are people who after hearing him speak walk up to him, hug him, and say, “You changed my life tonight.”
This DVD just might change yours as well. Below is the link to our reviews of My Run and also for Terry’s book, A Father’s Odyssey.