Marathon of Respect & Equality (MORE)
The Marathon of Respect and Equality is held the first Thursday of every May. It incorporates each community in Pictou County, including Pictou Landing First Nation. The goals of MORE are respect for diversity and support of all people, regardless of their circumstances.
MORE 2015 Video
From 1990-2009, Pictou County was the location of Henderson Paris’ remarkable Run Against Racism. During those 20 years:
- A generation of school children had Hennie as an outstanding role model to teach them how they should treat one another
- A generation of adults had an inspiring leader in the fight against racism and discrimination
- A generation of people marginalized by racist attitudes or any other form of discrimination had a champion to give them support and hope
Undoubtedly, Henderson’s efforts had a tremendous impact. Pictou County is a beautiful, warm and tolerant community and Hennie’s role in helping to nurture that is well documented and clear.
When Henderson announced his Run was ending in 2009, the most common reaction was “But there is so much more to do!” This, then, was the impetus for the Marathon of Respect and Equality:
- MORE was required to combat racial discrimination.
- MORE education around racial sensitivity and tolerance for young and old alike was needed.
- MORE support and new reasons for hope for all people marginalized in our society were needed.
So, MORE was created. MORE incorporates the old Run Against Racism, which everyone recognizes and which Henderson so graciously allowed the committee to co-opt, with the new acronym M-O-R-E, which encourages us all to jump in and do more for this most worthy cause.
The new Run has been designed to reflect certain key principles, taken from the example set by Henderson Paris over all those 20 years:
- It will be a continuation of Hennie’s work in his original Run Against Racism. We are not trying to do something startlingly different or novel - we are trying to build on what is a solid foundation, not start a whole new structure.
- The new Run’s purposes, along with any events or activities associated with it, are to end racial discrimination and to promote respect and equality for whoever is in any way marginalized or disrespected in our society.
- The Marathon of Respect and Equality will be inclusive and non-competitive, in keeping with Henderson’s slogan, “Together we can make a difference,” the organizing committee will encourage all events and activities associated with MORE to be welcoming, collegial and cooperative in nature.
- MORE will focus on education - education that is positive, non-judgmental and encouraging. Over 20 years ago, in response to a deeply hurtful event, Hennie and his wife, Carol, made the decision to use his athletic gifts to educate and promote understanding rather than to become bitter or angry or recriminating; it is this example we wish to follow here.
- Finally, while MORE is obviously going to be a running event in and of itself and (we hope) many people will “run for Hennie,” the organizing committee wants to broaden considerably what it means to be a runner in this case.
The organizing committee wishes to make it clear that while we are emulating Hennie’s Run, we have no illusions about replicating it.
Rather, we want the principles of his Run, the ideals he pursued and which are reflected in the new run’s name, to take center stage. We want the words and actions of our municipal leaders, our students, our business leaders, all the citizens of Pictou County to be reflective of the same commitment Hennie, Carol and their committee demonstrated for the past 20 years.
We are confident the people of Pictou County will do what they can to support this effort and continue to work toward Hennie’s goal of a completely tolerant and respectful community.
Also, the committee thanks Henderson and Carol Paris for their on-going support, guidance and generosity during the developing of MORE. Their endorsement and assistance have been critical in allowing MORE to be established and grow.