'A message of hope and restoration': Sask. running clinic aims to help young people by staying active
SASKATOON -- After years of struggling with addiction and mental health, Tarrant Cross Child decided to pick up a former hobby of his, and has since decided to use it to help young people across the province.
Cross Child started running while in a rehab centre. Once he finished the program, he said he ran the Saskatchewan Marathon in 2015 — a race he won in 1998.
"To be on the start line after all I’ve come through, because a year before that I couldn’t even run around my block," Cross Child said.
"As I ran this marathon and crossed the finish line, I was really impressed upon my heart, yeah this is a finish line, but it’s also a start line for a brand new life.”
Cross Child said shortly after the marathon, he began to hear more about the suicide crisis in northern Saskatchewan communities.
This hit home for him as he has struggled with mental health and said he even attempted to take his life. So, he wanted to find a way to help others in the province who are also struggling.
"I thought to my friend, ‘Hey, what about a running clinic? You gifted me shoes, do you have any more shoes? I want to go to these communities and give them shoes.’”
Cross Child said he held a few trial clinics in northern communities, and after receiving positive feedback, he never looked back.
The running clinic is called the Prairie Run Crew Outreach Program Inc. and it offers free clinics to communities and cities across the province, and provinces people with free gear such as running shoes and water bottles.
The clinic isn’t all about running though, as they have all sorts of activities and practices set up to work on things like footwork and balance.
Cross Child also speaks during the clinics, sharing his struggles and triumphs, hoping to serve as an inspiration to others.
"My goal and my hope is to always bring a message of hope and restoration through living a healthy and active lifestyle. Do that by loving and serving the communities," Cross Child told CTV News.
"In my case, the platform being running, how running has helped me come through my struggles. So when I see youth or their families going through some struggles, I realize what I’ve come through and what I was able to overcome. If I can do it, you can do it.”
William Sawchyn was one of the kids at the Prairie Run Crew clinic in Saskatoon on Friday, and said that having the opportunity to participate in an activity like this has been important for him after spending so much time indoors.
"It’s hard when you have to sit inside and do nothing the whole time. I’m enjoying running quite a bit," Sawchyn said.
"A lot of kids that I know haven’t really been active or outside a lot, so I think this is good to help them stay active.”
Keedon Whitefish was also at the clinic on Friday and said he appreciates the opportunity to improve himself.
"It helps me with my speed a lot in hockey. It helps me with my speed and balance.”
More information about the Prairie Run Crew can be found on their website.
The clinic’s next event is on Aug. 22 in Victoria Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.