Run4Sobriety | the Start of National Sobriety Day

Run4Sobriety | the Start of National Sobriety Day

Run4Sobriety | the start of National Sobriety Day – is set to begin May 20, 2013, and is the brainchild of Tom Fitzsimons.

Run4Sobritey and the start of National Sobriety Day, May 20, 2013

Run4Sobritey and the start of National Sobriety Day, May 20, 2013

I learned of Tom and his venture from Gary Topley, Alcohol Awareness Specialist, and one of BTC’s Faces of Recovery. As I learned more about Tom Fitzsimons, Run4Sobriety and National Sobriety Day, I knew I had to introduce this effort as widely as possible.

It’s a great story and a fantastic effort.

So please find my interview with Tom Fitzsimons the person behind National Sobriety Day and Run4Sobriety!

1. Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.

Tom Fitzsimons - Founder of Run4Recovery

Tom Fitzsimons – Founder of Run4Recovery

My name is Tom Fitzsimons. I am 38 and live in Wakefield West Yorkshire in England with my family. I am an alcoholic who has been completely sober for over 5 years. 7 Years ago I was 19 stone, and couldn’t run, my whole life was on the verge of collapse. I made the decision to get sober and with the support of my partner, Zoe, have managed my addiction. I started running to re-focus away from the destructive and damaging lifestyle I had.

I am a now a personal trainer and inspirational speaker.

I became passionate about sharing my story and being open and honest about my addiction. I wanted to change attitudes towards alcoholism and in 2010 I left my career in the Utilities industry to start speaking in schools, sport clubs and businesses to help others and make a difference. Since I started in 2010 I have spoken to over 20,000 children throughout the UK about the real consequences of alcohol abuse.

Away from my work and training for the Run across America (which leaves little time) I enjoy spending time with my family and watching Rugby and Football (Soccer) – (I am also a fan of the Boston Celtics)

2. How (or why) did you decide to launch a campaign to celebrate May 20th as National Sobriety Day?

I chose May 20th as it was 100 days away from my date of sobriety. The final day of the run on August 27th 2013 which is the day I will be six years sober.

I wanted to mark the day I set off with something the general public could be involved in. We have all sorts of national days. But we don’t have a National Sobriety Day so what better way to get one than to start it myself!!

3. You live in England, why did you decide to conduct a run|walk across America to raise awareness about National Sobriety Day?

Addiction is a hard subject to get people to take an interest in. I wanted to get people to sit up, listen and get involved! “Hey! this guy is RUNNING ACROSS THE USA!!” I feel that the USA offered me a big enough challenge to get people interested.

4. On your website, you invite people to pledge sobriety in lieu of donations and you have levels by numbers of days pledged, please describe your hopes for this approach in a bit more detail.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, most people are struggling financially at the moment. I don’t want to put more financial burden on people. Secondly, it is already very hard to get people to donate money for addiction in the UK. The stigma attached to the illness is still very much that it is the addicts “own fault”. I hope to be able to engage with a wider audience by not asking for money.

5. How many miles to you plan to cover a day? do you have sponsor stations set up in the various states along the way?

I am planning to run 35miles per day hopefully covering that distance in 6hrs each day. At the moment we don’t have any plans for a sponsors station. It will be just me and a driver slowly crossing your great land. I am sure there will be opportunity to meet some great people along the route.

6. What is your training regime for this 3000 mile run|walk?

I am currently running 40 to 50 miles per week. This will increase to 120 miles per week by march and then slow down by the end of April ready to hit the USA.

7. What has been the reaction so far?

Disbelief is the usual reaction. I think until closer to my departure date people don’t really think it’s possible. I love this it’s the same reaction I had when I first stopped drinking – “He won’t do it” …..You just watch me!

8. Do you have plans for another walk in another country?

Ha ha, yes I have but don’t tell Zoe. I am already planning to run from my home in England to Istanbul in Turkey – The European crossing. I also dream of climbing Everest.

This is Zoe – we will have to see about that!!!!!!

9. What final message would you like to leave with readers?

I want people to understand what it is like to be on a continued battle with addiction. The run symbolises the daily struggle people around the world face with addiction. Every day I will be faced with opportunity to give in. I will weaken mentally at times but I will not give up. Like my addiction I cannot allow myself to give up.

And one more thing…

I am still looking for sponsors either to help with by giving finance, services, equipment. For any potential US sponsors – particularly accommodation, transport and trainers!!

For more information:


Twitter: @dryingout


Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author | Speaker | Consultant | Founder at
Lisa is the author of hundreds of articles and 11 books, including "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop!," "Addiction Recovery: What Helps, What Doesn't," and "Secondhand Drinking: the Phenomenon That Affects Millions." She is a national keynote speaker with over 25 years speaking experience, consultant, and founder of She has spent more than 14 years studying 21st century brain research in order to write, speak, and consult on substance use disorders prevention, intervention and treatment; mental disorders; addiction (aka substance use disorders) as a brain disease; adolescent addiction treatment vs adult addiction treatment; effective treatment for co-occurring disorders (having both a substance use and mental disorder); secondhand drinking | drugging; help for the family; and related subjects. In 2015, she founded SHD Prevention, providing training and consulting to companies, public agencies, unions, nonprofits and other entities to address the workplace impacts of employee secondhand drinking and alcohol misuse.
Lisa Frederiksen

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40 Responses to Run4Sobriety | the Start of National Sobriety Day

  1. Aimee says:

    Wow what a commitment. A friend helped sponsor an ultramarathoner run across the US and he got lots of publicity for children’s issues…so this is bound to be a success!

    • tom says:

      Hi Aimee, Thanks for your comment. I don’t think I fully realise how big a commitment it is. Its a big Country. With positive people supporting me I am sure it will be a great success. I hope you enjoy the journey.

  2. WOW! What an amazing post, Lisa! Thank you for sharing this! It is quite a commitment! I know it will be a success and you will help many. God bless you!

  3. Wowsers! Great share… Quite the commitment, I applaud!

  4. Mick Hirst says:

    A fantastic and inspirational effort Tom – the White Rose (of Yorkshire) blossoms brightly again. I wish you all the look in the world!! Right off to to pledge.

  5. Understanding addiction is so important because it appears on every level in families, friends, selves. I am always glad to read more about this subject. Thank you.

    • tom says:

      So true Barbara, we need more and more conversations about this subject. Hopefully the run will help. hope you can follow and enjoy the journey.

  6. I love the idea of hosting an event to bring up awareness! What you share is so valuable, Lisa! thank you.

    • tom says:

      Hi Elizabeth, I hope that Run4Sobriety will be the beginning of a yearly event that will highlight addiction pleased you think its a good idea.

  7. Wow..i love his determination and dedication. I chuckled at his response when he discussed others’ response about his getting sober, “He won’t do it” …..You just watch me! Sometimes the rebel part of ourselves takes us to new heights!

    • tom says:

      Thank you Meryl, the rebellious side often got me into trouble, thankfully this time the rebellious side will drag me 3200miles across the USA!! ….You watch me!. Thanks so much for the support. I hope you enjoy the journey.

  8. Anita says:

    More inspiration to close my Mondays work! Love coming here and I will share 🙂

  9. Liz B says:

    This is sooooo awesome! Thanks for the info!

  10. Sherie says:

    Wow, this is an amazing commitment to make! I wish you all the best on your journey!

  11. This is amazing, Tom!! What a goal to set for yourself. I wish you all the best on your journey. I look forward to following your journey across America! Thanks for sharing this interview, Lisa!

    • tom says:

      Thanks Cathy, its going to be a tough challenge but with support we will hopefully make a difference to many people suffering from addiction. Hope you enjoy the journey.

  12. Lorrie says:

    Fabulous! I know this effort will be a huge success! Good work.

  13. MamaRed says:

    Wowser….talking about taking something on, full out and in a big way. Rockstar awesome!

  14. Wow – what an amazing commitment and dedication… I wish you great success in bringing awareness to what can be overcome and achieved.

  15. A brilliant idea. Am so inspired by your commitment. I wish you every success Tom!

  16. Wow..what inspiration and determination!Love this!

  17. What an amazing story and young man. Sharing this with everyone to increase the support of his adventure. Thanks!

  18. Congratulations, Tom, on your milestone of 5 years sober! This sounds like a very cool idea, and one that people in the US will support. I am looking forward to watching your progress!

    • Tom says:

      Thank you Susan, so proud of my 5years. So many more years of sobriety ahead and I am going to fill every day! I do hope the people in the USA get behind the concept. We may have an international day of sobriety.

  19. Sharon O'Day says:

    The quiet strength of the committed. There’s nothing like it … whatever aspect of life. Congratulations!

  20. I love your commitment and dedication to raising awareness and wish you much success on your journey!

  21. Number 9 says:

    Wow this is great! I think running is such a great substitute for drinking. Once my back heals I hope to start running again and I’ve put may 20 on my calendar!

    • I plan to be there, too – so hopefully we’ll meet! And you’re right, running is a great substitute for drinking. There’s also a great body of research on what aerobic exercise, like running, does for brain healing and brain health – fascinating!

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