Runner motivates Nanaimo students to find “purpose and passion” – Nanaimo News Bulletin

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story deals with suicide attempts, which may be distressing for some readers.

Tarrant Cross Child’s rehabilitation center in Saskatchewan was in the middle of flat wheat fields and he could see for miles.

He could see a farmer’s shed in the distance, so he ran back and forth. Another day he ran a little further, going to the fork in the highway and back. Eventually he ran to the train tracks.

“With running, I realized by setting goals that I was a goal setter and an achiever,” he said. “It really gave me purpose to be able to get up every day, to have those goals.”

Eight years later and eight years sober, the 45-year-old is in British Columbia to compete in the Vancouver Marathon on Sunday May 1. He was in Nanaimo on Friday, April 29 to speak with students from two elementary schools.

“My message is a message of hope and restoration,” said Cross Child, who is Niitsitapi, a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy. “I want to be able to share my story, hoping I can help at least one person.”

Cross Child, in addition to talking about motivation and charity work as an ambassador for New Balance Canada and Brainsport, founded Prairie Run Crew to share his passion for running with at-risk youth.

It speaks to young people about finding “purpose and passion,” he said, and it’s a message he can adapt to his audience. When he talks to the elementary students, he’ll say he was sick, and he’ll tell them what it meant for his recovery to see that distant cabin in the wheat fields, to reach it, and to run further the next time.

When he speaks with older students, he doesn’t gloss over details. He will tell them how his alcoholism has “chained him down and chained him down”, and how he stole money from his own children for booze and missed their football practices and music recitals. He will tell students how he wrote goodbye letters to his four children and then attempted suicide.

Rehab came with achievements for Cross Child. He found that through it all, he always had the support of his family. His children were young enough that he saw an opportunity for “a new life,” a life in which their father was not an alcoholic. Individuals are products of their past, but need not be prisoners of it, Cross Child learned.

And there was racing. He had been fast growing up and even won the Saskatchewan Marathon in 1998, but he went a decade without running as he was plagued by his addiction.

“In a week or two after [starting rehab] I started running. I couldn’t do the equivalent around a city block, but I had this desire and passion to be able to start running again,” said Cross Child. “I knew I needed something.”

He returned to marathons and a month after the Vancouver event he will run the Saskatchewan Marathon. He’s not competitive in the same way he was in his prime, but he’s competing against himself, which he says is harder, in a way.

Cross Child once thought there was no way out of the “deep and dark” place he was in, but he ran away, to the shed, to the freeway exit, towards the railway line, and continued to step into it. in front of the other.

“I never raced and regretted it,” he said.

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