Chris Thomson gears up for a monster challenge

Former Scotland age-grade player is running 33-miles per day, on 32 consecutive days, in 32 different Scottish councils

Chris Thomson is running 33 miles on 32 consecutive days in 32 different Scottish councils.
Chris Thomson is running 33 miles on 32 consecutive days in 32 different Scottish councils.

I AM, you may not be surprised to read, a tad cynical about the certain people raising money for charity, especially when it involves sponsoring a bike ride around Cuba or some such. No, pay for your own holiday, why not?

But come Wednesday morning at 5am, one-time rugby player Chris Thomson is about to take on a daunting, monster of a challenge that merits wider appreciation and support.

The former Fettes pupil, Loughborough University student and member of various Scotland age-grade squads will run an ultra marathon for 32 consecutive days, in 32 different Scottish councils. My knees are already aching in sympathy, before he has even started “thetourdethomo” as he has dubbed it.

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He is raising money for a number of good causes, including the  My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and cancer charities but the emphasis is on mental wellbeing after a pal of his, Hamish Lock, took his own life two years ago. Lock was a former Merchiston pupil, Thomson at Fettes and the two rugby rivals became good friends off the field. Lock was just 33 when he died so Thomson will mark that sobering milestone by running 33 miles every day for 32 consecutive days; it totals 1056 miles in all, he has done the math so we don’t have to.

“It started with running 300 miles for Movember,” Thomson says when trying to explain the prequel to this story. “That wasn’t too bad so I ran another 500 in December as I always get fat and lazy over Christmas. That included one 60 mile run which I thought was 100 kilometres but it turns out to be just 96½!

“Suicide is the biggest killer of people under the age of 35 in the UK and the biggest killer of men under the age of 50 so I just wanted to raise awareness of the problem. I have had so many random people, including rugby guys in Shetland, reach out to me because they have lost someone dear to them this way.

“It’s vitally important for people to overcome the machismo of rugby and feel able to talk about their mental health if they have a problem.”

Thomson has quit his job as a tech salesman to concentrate on fundraising and he has already completed several eye watering challenges including cycling the length of the UK and the length of Ireland as well as circumnavigating Arran in a kayak.

I put it to Thomson that he may have bitten off a little more than he is able to swallow, 33 miles, 32 days, 32 districts around Scotland and he will do it all in a kilt if he gets 100,000 followers on Instagram!  This is a proper challenge and I wonder out loud whether he will finish it or it will finish him?

“No, there is no chance I won’t finish,” he shoots me down like a heretic. “I am a planner and I have a plan A, which never works out, and a plan B for when that happens. It is going to take a broken leg to stop me from finishing this.”

  • Follow Chris Thomson’s fundraising efforts on Instagram by clicking HERE
  • To support ‘tourdethomo‘ click HERE.

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About Iain Morrison 151 Articles
Iain was capped 15 times for Scotland at openside flanker between his debut against Ireland during the 1993 Six Nations and his final match against New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. He was twice a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and played his entire club career with London Scottish (being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2016). Iain is a lifelong member of Linlithgow Rugby Club. After hanging up his boots, he became rugby correspondent for The Sunday Herald, before moving to The Scotland on Sunday for 16 years, and he has also guest written for various other publications.