"Tommy is an athlete with Autism who lives in Ottawa, Canada. Tommy was always a "runner" (a term used for kids with Autism who often run off or wander), and has had an Autism Service Dog, whose role is to help keep him safe, since the age of 7. In 2006 he began running (in the correct direction!) daily with his Dad and Matrix (his dog). Soon, Matrix and his Dad could no longer keep up! His Dad now rides a bike beside him to keep him safe during runs.
Tommy races in road races, high school cross country and track races, and trains with the Ottawa Lions. He also cross-country skis, and has competed at the Ontario high school championships. Recently, Tommy began paddling with "Paddle All" at the Rideau Canoe Club. He is just one of a number of athletes in Ottawa who have overcome many different challenges to achieve remarkable things through athletics.
Tommy did not begin to talk until the age of 7, and it was primarily through learning to read that he began to learn language. While running, Tommy often chants "I think I can...", recites lines from Disney movies, or sings. He crosses each finish line with great personal pride. Empowered by athletics, he is conquering enormous communication challenges and other aspects of Autism. Tommy inspires many through his determination, enthusiasm for life, and the huge smile always on his face while competing! The Ottawa athletic community has warmly embraced Tommy's uniqueness.
Tommy's mantra is "I'm going to be the first fastest runner in the world!", which inspired the title of this mini documentary. Thank you, Jordan and Dave, for capturing the joy that is Tommy's running and sharing it with others."
I'm hoping to someday see Tommy & Alex line up side by side at a race start line, (that Great Canadian Goat Run perhaps?!) though Tommy will leave Alex in his dust by the finish line.
How fast is he? Here's his PB's:
Half Marathon 1:18:04
Tommy's YouTube Channel
If you're ever running in Ottawa and spot Tommy and his big smile, say hello!