Great Strides

Child of the Cross Run­ning Clin­ics in for the Long Haul

Canadian Running - - CONTENTS - By Tara Camp­bell Read Tara Camp­bell’s weekly blog, ‘Gotta Run!’ on run­ning­

What started as a de­sire to share his mes­sage of hope and restora­tion with north­ern Saskatchewan com­mu­ni­ties grap­pling with youth sui­cide, has turned into full-time mis­sion for Tar­rant Cross Child, his wife, Ce­leste, and his four chil­dren.

Child of the Cross Run­ning Clin­ics started as mod­est en­deav­ours. They re­ceived early sup­port from a small group of lo­cal busi­ness peo­ple, in­clud­ing Brian Michasiw, the founder of the lo­cal run­ning in­sti­tu­tion Brain­sport. Through the Brain­sport Shoe Do­na­tion Pro­gram, Cross Child was able to bring gen­tlyused train­ers into the com­mu­ni­ties where he was speak­ing and hold­ing run­ning clin­ics.

Cross Child’s mes­sage res­onated im­me­di­ately with the com­mu­ni­ties he was go­ing into and soon he was field­ing re­quests for his ser­vices from com­mu­ni­ties across Saskatchewan and beyond. When asked if he thought his clin­ics would evolve to reach thou­sands of peo­ple, Cross Child was pleas­antly sur­prised. “Not at all, not one bit,” he says. “It started by hear­ing about the sui­cide cri­sis in the north and want­ing to bring my mes­sage and run­ning clin­ics to them. We’ve grown a lot, and have lots of part­ners and lots of sup­port, but the mes­sage is the same – it’s sim­ple – hope and restora­tion.”

To­day, Child of the Cross Run­ning Clin­ics has blos­somed into a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, with wide sup­port from lo­cal busi­nesses, as well as from New Bal­ance Canada, which pro­vides Cross Child with new shoes for clinic par­tic­i­pants, and swag and equip­ment to help cre­ate a race-day ex­pe­ri­ence for those in the smaller com­mu­ni­ties Cross Child reaches.

The key to suc­cess, says Cross Child, is in prepa­ra­tion and fol­low-up with the com­mu­ni­ties.

“If we just go to a place and have an event, it re­ally misses t he point ,” says Cross Child. “It’s about lov­ing the com­mu­nity, sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity and that doesn’t all hap­pen at the event.”

Cross Child’s team re­searches each com­mu­nity they go into in order to best un­der­stand their needs. They also do ex­ten­sive fol­low-up with the com­mu­ni­ties via phone calls and vis­its to en­sure on­go­ing sup­port.

“We’ll call and ask how they’re run­ning pro­grams are do­ing. We’ll ask if they need more shoes, or T-shirts, or do they need train­ing plans,” he says.

Cum­ber­land House, Sask., was the very first com­mu­nity Cross Child went to back in 2016, and to this day the com­mu­nity still gets vis­its from Cross Child’s team.

“It’s about be­ing a good stew­ard of who we’ve been en­trusted with,” says Cross Child. “We want them to know we’re not just here for you for one day, or two. We’re here for the long haul.”

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