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