Meta Versus Mega

One of Canada's greatest heroes is Terry Fox, who attempted to run across Canada on an artificial leg in order to raise money to fight cancer. Terry's Marathon of Hope was cut short on September 1, 1980, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when the cancer that had taken his leg reappeared and forced him to stop. On June 29, 1981, he died, having become the youngest person in history to be named a Companion of the Order of Canada, our nation's highest civilian honour.

His legacy lives on to this day in the Terry Fox Run, which is one of the largest single-day fundraising events in the world (as well as being a significantly large sporting event). The first Terry Fox Run was held September 13, 1981, at more than 760 sites in Canada and around the world. It attracted 300,000 participants and raised $3.5 million for cancer research. In 2001, more than 50 countries and an estimated 242,000 participants did their part for cancer research. To date, over $300 million has been raised for
cancer research in Terry's name.



[Aside] This year's Terry Fox Run will be held on Sunday, September 14. Hopefully, Linds and I will be running it together at one of the events in Toronto.



C.M. Hall defines mega-events as:

"Mega tourist events, otherwise referred to as hallmark or special events, are major large-scale fairs, festivals, expositions, or cultural and sporting events that are held on either a regular or a one-off basis, which often require a substantial input of public funding and/or support that serve as major mechanisms for physical redevelopment and/or reimagining strategies."

So would the Terry Fox Run be considered a mega-event by Hall's definition? Obviously not. But with over 200,000 athletes participating around the world at once, surely this type of sporting event is worthy of a label. I would call it a distributed event.

Now take the Terry Fox Run's large number of participants in diverse locations, add in a socially-oriented mission, and network everything together with post-industrial communications systems, and you have a meta-event. You have Global Village Basketball.


Hall, C.M. (1997). Communication from guest editor. Festival Management & Event Tourism, 4 (1/2), 1-2.


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