Katona to bike again for Terry Fox

Combining his love of exercise with the will to raise funds for a worthy cause, Ed Katona has been a steadfast participant in the Terry Fox “Marathon of Hope” since its inception more than 20 years ago.
He’s even stepped up his efforts over the last 10 years, pushing himself beyond the 10-km route most others in town here cover on the second Sunday of September.
And this year will be no exception as he and former Stratton resident Arnie Johnsrud plan to cycle to Minneapolis to raise funds for cancer research.
Katona said Monday the trek will be a “little different” than last year’s from Fort Frances to Kenora, Dryden, and back.
“It’s about 600 miles,” he noted. “It’s a little further, a little bit of a challenge. Going to Kenora, you’ve got the hills, which can take a while to get up, but you can coast down.
“This time it’s more flat, more of a constant pedal.”
But Katona—a self-proclaimed fitness buff who follows an alternating schedule of running, cycling, and in-line skating—said he’s ready for the journey, which will start this Sunday (Sept. 14) and, if everything goes well, wrap up by next Saturday (Sept. 20).
“We should be leaving by about 6 a.m. We’re hoping the weather is a little cooler,” said Katona, adding the key factor won’t be cold temperatures or precipitation, but wind.
“You don’t want to contend with it [wind]. It can bring you to a dead stop,” he remarked.
Katona said he and Johnsrud, who now lives in Lorette, Man. and is an experienced long-distance cyclist, will be biking about 12 hours a day. They also will be carrying their own food, water, and repair kits—the latter of which hopefully won’t be used.
“I’ve never had a flat or a chain break,” Katona said. “That could cost you a half-an-hour—that’s a lot of time.”
Katona, who is the town’s tax collector, has been contacting friends and acquaintances, as well as fellow town employees, for pledges. He said the fundraising, which yielded $1,300-1,500 last year, is going well this time around.
But Vanessa Hebert, executive director of the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau and organizer of the Terry Fox Run here, said Katona’s participation is about more than money.
“He really does raise quite a bit of awareness when he does this,” she remarked. “It’s different, it’s more than just the 10-km course.”
Katona noted “it would be nice to get a bit of a group going,” adding it’s tough to find anyone willing to bike that far and commit that much of their time to the trip.
Looking ahead, Katona is not sure what his destination may be next year, but stressed he’ll definitely take to the road in the tradition of Terry Fox.
(Fort Frances Times)