• Tom Crossland

Who am I and Why am I running?

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

Let's start with the basics... My name is Tom, I am passionate about adventure, the mountains and journeys. I was born with cerebral palsy, which means I have some weakness and fine motor control difficulties on my left side. This meant that I was not able to walk until I was over 3 years old and I fell over all the time. As I grew up I had a permanent hole in the left knee of my trousers and a permanent graze on my left hip. This never stopped me from being active, however, and taught me that success is not measured by how many times you fall over but by how many times you get up. Although I was always moving and active, I never thought that I was sporty. I was not picked for any school sport's teams and would be at the back of any school races.

I now run almost every day...I first started running regularly in 2015 when I decided to sign up for my first 100 km ultra marathon and therefore needed to train. Why start small? Since then I have taken part in many ultras, with my greatest achievement being the 250 km Grand to Grand, from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon across the Arizona and Utah desert to the top of Grand Escalante.

During the day I work in the NHS in Berkshire as a Clinical Psychologist and a Team Lead. In my free time, when I am not training, I volunteer with a local youth charity coordinating the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, as a qualified Mountain Leader and paddlesport coach. When working with the young people, I try to inspire them to develop in them as much passion as I have in movement and adventure. It always amazes me to see their change in confidence and attitude, when you take them on expeditions without their home comforts, and expect them to be fully self-sufficient for 2 - 4 days. They start the expedition unsure of themselves, nervous about going wrong or getting lost and finish with stories of bravery, adventure and excitement.

Through my work and adventuring, I have also developed a deep gratitude for the being born in the UK and the freedoms this allows. I am passionate about fighting for human rights. Over the past few years there has been large numbers of people entering Europe in search of asylum, freedom and safety. The reality is, that in their desperation, people will use their life savings to pay human traffickers to help them reach mainland Europe and the UK. These people, who have escaped war or persecution, are then sometimes forced into slavery or indentured servitude. This robs them of one of the most important and fundamental human rights; to be born free and to live with liberty and security of person. This is why I am going to run from Greece to London between May and August 2020. I hope by following the journey across Europe that refugees and trafficked people make, I can raise public awareness of these issues and help The TRIBE Freedom Foundation end modern slavery.

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