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Excessive-athlete’s £785k Unicef charity jog ‘rip-off’: ‘Self-promoting’ ultra-runner ‘left his workers 1000’s of kilos out of pocket by not paying them and went on journeys overseas whereas pretending to fundraise’

Excessive-athlete’s £785k Unicef charity jog ‘rip-off’: ‘Self-promoting’ ultra-runner ‘left his workers 1000’s of kilos out of pocket by not paying them and went on journeys overseas whereas pretending to fundraise’


An excessive runner from London has been accused of hiring workers to assist him elevate $1million (£785,000) for Unicef earlier than leaving them tens of 1000’s of kilos out of pocket whereas occurring journeys overseas.

Tomasz Drybala allegedly ‘scammed’ a number of folks within the UK and US whereas pretending to fundraise – because the charity launches a probe into his actions following MailOnline’s investigation.

He’s accused of repeatedly using folks with out paying them, utilizing pretend promotional movies and forging testimonials to safe interviews with high-flying manufacturers, similar to Crimson Bull, to legitimise his persona.

By claiming to be fundraising for charity, Drybala has secured entry to working golf equipment world wide, a sequence of high-flying media alternatives and has taken frequent journeys overseas – all with out elevating a penny.

Victims spoken to by MailOnline say they’ve been unnoticed of pocket by 1000’s of kilos, had been requested to pay for their very own coaching and even had pretend phrases attributed to them on his web site.

Some have ended up in debt and needed to borrow cash from family members to remain afloat.

Drybala informed MailOnline the allegations had been ‘taken out of context’ and ‘interpretations of information, and never information themselves’. 

Polish ultra-runner Tomasz Drybala, who has lived in London for 22 years, has been accused of scamming people out of tens of thousands of pounds

Polish ultra-runner Tomasz Drybala, who has lived in London for 22 years, has been accused of scamming folks out of tens of 1000’s of kilos

Josh Collins, from California, said he is owed £1,200 and accused Drybala of repeatedly asking him for money to spend on hotels in the US

Josh Collins, from California, said he is owed £1,200 and accused Drybala of repeatedly asking him for money to spend on hotels in the US

Josh Collins, from California, mentioned he’s owed £1,200 and accused Drybala of repeatedly asking him for cash to spend on motels within the US

The athlete, who variously describes himself as an ‘identification and braveness coach’, ‘extremely endurance athlete and explorer’ and ‘motivational speaker’, claims to be working the circumference of the globe by 2025, together with journeys to Cairo, Kuwait and Indonesia.

But in keeping with his web site he has solely run in 5 of his 30 deliberate nations, midway by the timeframe he set himself. There isn’t any report of him really elevating a penny for charity, and no data on learn how to donate to his trigger.

Abby, from Hertfordshire, informed MailOnline she signed an employment contract with Drybala, who was born in Poland however lives within the UK, in summer time 2021 that promised her a wage of £44,000 per yr.

‘I had payslips each month,’ she mentioned, ‘However I by no means acquired a penny.’ 

After seeing the mission administration function marketed, Abby did loads of analysis on Drybala and his firm. She was employed particularly to handle his ‘ultrarun’. 

‘I noticed he mentioned he was sponsored by Crimson Bull, there have been all these press articles, the web site seemed real – all of it seemed above board,’ she mentioned.

‘He was very, very convincing. The primary month’s pay date got here round and he immediately mentioned [one of] his firms had gone into administration and he could not pay.’

Drybala promised Abby he would pay her the following month, however when her second payday got here round with no cash being transferred into her account, a sample started to emerge.

Drybala claims to be a motivational speaker but clips on his Instagram show him speaking to frozen images on a computer screen

Drybala claims to be a motivational speaker but clips on his Instagram show him speaking to frozen images on a computer screen

Drybala claims to be a motivational speaker however clips on his Instagram present him chatting with frozen pictures on a pc display screen

Former employees say Drybala has not paid them for work from more than three years ago, yet he continues to keep taking on new workers

Former employees say Drybala has not paid them for work from more than three years ago, yet he continues to keep taking on new workers

Former workers say Drybala has not paid them for work from greater than three years in the past, but he continues to maintain taking up new staff 

A running coach from the UK told MailOnline Drybala was using a fake testimonial from him on his website - it has since been removed

A running coach from the UK told MailOnline Drybala was using a fake testimonial from him on his website - it has since been removed

A working coach from the UK informed MailOnline Drybala was utilizing a pretend testimonial from him on his web site – it has since been eliminated

Having no different work, Abby continued her employment with Drybala for greater than 5 months earlier than she ultimately managed to seek out one other job. By November 2021 she estimates she was owed £13,000 in wage, plus curiosity funds.

‘I am in a lot debt due to it nonetheless, I’ve needed to borrow cash from my dad and mom’ retirement funds to pay it off.

‘I needed to take out loans, it is utterly screwed my life up. I am simply gutted I fell for it.’ 

Abby repeatedly adopted up concerning the cash she was owed, stressing the urgency of her monetary scenario. 

In emails seen by MailOnline, Drybala both didn’t reply or repeatedly promised she could be paid imminently.

‘I work with a speaker company and I am already booked for over 60 p.c dates for the following eight months. So I’ll lastly handle to resolve all monetary issues,’ Drybala wrote in November 2022.

Abby adopted up for the final time in January. She has heard nothing since, and nonetheless has acquired no cash.

Drybala informed a number of folks spoken to by MailOnline that he would settle money owed by his firm, together with his web site stating he affords paid keynote and motivational speeches and ‘conscious self-leadership and therapeutic teaching’. 

There are numerous clips of him delivering talks on his social media, however not one among them reveals the viewers, and even any audio of what he’s saying. He has additionally by no means named an occasion he’s talking at or given a exact location or shopper particulars, main his victims to consider they’re faked.

In a single clip, Drybala is seen chatting with a pc display screen with 4 folks apparently video calling him – but all the persons are frozen in time, with two pictured mid-wave whereas his lips proceed to maneuver. He didn’t touch upon this when requested by MailOnline.

His rigorously cultivated social media presence is helped by skilled movies of him working.

He spent a number of months within the US this yr and took part in some runs with native working teams. Round this time he employed Josh Collins, from California, as a video editor for $1,500 (nearly £1,200) per thirty days.

In February 2021, Drybala told a digital advertising specialist she would be paid in 7-28 days - she still has received no money

In February 2021, Drybala told a digital advertising specialist she would be paid in 7-28 days - she still has received no money

In February 2021, Drybala informed a digital promoting specialist she could be paid in 7-28 days – she nonetheless has acquired no cash

Social media users have previously accused Drybala of not paying them for work, or ignoring their refund requests

Social media users have previously accused Drybala of not paying them for work, or ignoring their refund requests

Social media customers have beforehand accused Drybala of not paying them for work, or ignoring their refund requests

Mr Collins did a month of labor however alarm bells started ringing after he didn’t obtain any cash on his scheduled payday.

As well as, Josh claims Drybala repeatedly requested him for cash whereas he was employed by him in the direction of the price of US motels.

‘I had misplaced a job simply earlier than so I used to be in a susceptible spot,’ Josh mentioned. 

‘After a month he began making excuses, saying he had misplaced sponsors. Throughout the strategy of working for him he requested me to pay for motels, developing with excuses similar to that he had misplaced his pockets.

‘I did not have any cash to present him however I started to see the sample and thought he may be doing this to different folks. I realised he hadn’t simply not paid me, he had duped others into paying him.’

Regardless of by no means paying for any of Josh’s work, the videographer says Drybala has used his edited movies on his web site and social media. On the identical time, textual content messages between the pair confirmed Josh saved asking for his cash.

At one level, Drybala didn’t reply to his messages for 4 months. He then mentioned he’s ‘nonetheless working to repay all excellent invoices’ however ‘for certain I’ll clear it’. This was greater than two years after he allegedly did not pay Abby.

Josh mentioned he didn’t movie the clips, which appeared to point out the athlete working by a number of nations. As an alternative, he was despatched footage which he would edit collectively to make it seem as if Drybala had numerous help on the highway. 

Drybala’s excellent payments date again greater than three years. In August 2020, he employed a digital advertising and marketing specialist for a set charge of £200.

The blogger informed MailOnline she was by no means paid, and confirmed emails during which the corporate by which she was employed knowledgeable her Drybala had wracked up ‘1000’s of kilos’ of unpaid invoices with them. 

Correspondence reveals he initially knowledgeable her funds could be ‘considerably delayed’ because of the pandemic. 

In October 2020, he was nonetheless telling her he had ‘no funds’, however that he would receives a commission by an unnamed ‘sponsor’ inside 14 days.

After she threatened to take him to courtroom over the invoice, he added: ‘Nonetheless dissatisfied and flustered for all of us it’s, from my perspective, authorized motion in opposition to my firm won’t pace up the method. 

‘You’ve your proper to assert this cash in courtroom, however that will not change what I’ve to do earlier than I will pay your bill. 

‘Responding to emails and claims takes time and slows down the work I’ve to do earlier than I can repair my money circulation and cost points.

‘I want to pay attention now to complete all of the work. Each adverse e-mail is pushing me away from work for a invaluable time [sic].’

In February 2021, he informed her she might anticipate cash in her checking account inside ‘7-28 days’. To this point, she has nonetheless not been paid her charge.

There is no record of any money raised by Drybala for Unicef, which has since launched an investigation into his activities

There is no record of any money raised by Drybala for Unicef, which has since launched an investigation into his activities

There isn’t any report of any cash raised by Drybala for Unicef, which has since launched an investigation into his actions

Drybala previously told Abby that 'negative emails' asking for the money she is owed only 'slows down' his work

Drybala previously told Abby that 'negative emails' asking for the money she is owed only 'slows down' his work

Drybala beforehand informed Abby that ‘adverse emails’ asking for the cash she is owed solely ‘slows down’ his work

In addition to unpaid work, Drybala has additionally been accused of faking testimonials on his web site.

Steve, a working coach from the UK, informed MailOnline he had been supplied employment to help him organising a working retreat in October 2020.

The retreat was ultimately referred to as off resulting from Covid-19, however Steve had despatched a photograph to him for the web site for the retreat to be marketed.

A number of weeks in the past Steve mentioned: ‘I see that my photograph continues to be on his web site with a glowing testimonial about his on-line course. I did not write the testimonial as I’ve by no means executed his course.

‘I used to be as not too long ago as October this yr contacted by Tomasz once more as he mentioned he wished working coaches to assist individuals who take the web course keep on the course to get full worth. 

‘He mentioned he would pay me £250 per week to do 10 hours of labor for him. All I wanted to do was pay for and join the course myself first (£295 or one thing like that).

‘I declined as a result of I mentioned I’ve by no means taken on a job the place coaching is just not supplied by the employer and he mentioned that as I’d be self employed it needed to be this fashion.’

Steve didn’t lose any cash to Drybala, and ultimately the runner agreed to take away his ‘testimonial’ from the positioning.

Many different alleged victims have spoken out about Drybala on social media, saying they’ve additionally not been paid for work. Others say they’ve taken his £325 on-line management programs on the idea of an marketed ‘assured refund’ if they aren’t glad – just for their requests for his or her a refund to be ignored.

As he claims in interviews and on different social media websites, there are posts on his account saying he’s working to boost cash for Unicef. 

However there is no such thing as a report of how a lot cash he has raised or given to the charity – and no energetic fundraising pages or hyperlinks to Unicef throughout his on-line presence.

When contacted by MailOnline, Tomasz Drybala offered our reporter free access to his online leadership course and blamed employees for allegedly not submitting work to him

When contacted by MailOnline, Tomasz Drybala offered our reporter free access to his online leadership course and blamed employees for allegedly not submitting work to him

When contacted by MailOnline, Tomasz Drybala supplied our reporter free entry to his on-line management course and blamed workers for allegedly not submitting work to him 

MailOnline discovered one hyperlink to a GoFundMe web page – which has since been deleted – however slightly than a charity fundraiser, Drybala informed his followers he wanted ‘assist’ to be able to afford his mammoth working problem and requested for private donations.

Unicef informed MailOnline: ‘We take allegations of fraud very significantly and have strong procedures in place to analyze allegations similar to these. If wanted, we’d elevate this with the police and the charity fee.’

A spokesperson added they may not remark additional whereas an investigation into Drybala is ongoing.

The runner additionally claims that Nationwide Geographic is his ‘media patron’ in a number of social media posts – however there is only one article written about him on the agency’s Polish web site. There isn’t any reference to them being his ‘patron’.

Nationwide Geographic has been contacted for remark.

When contacted by MailOnline, Tomasz Drybala supplied our reporter free entry to his on-line management course and blamed workers for allegedly not submitting work to him.

He mentioned: ‘Some issues didn’t go as we wished. Through the years, I’ve misplaced a number of sponsors and partnerships that ought to have supplied funding for this mission, which has put me in debt and affected a few of the folks working with me. 

‘In fact, the duty is mine, however working just about has its challenges. Typically folks submit hours however neglect to submit the work, which for small companies like mine, could have dramatic penalties because it impacts your entire mission.

‘I discovered my lesson, and now I work solely with rigorously chosen professionals pushed by mission and goal. So I can belief of their commitments to ship outcomes.

‘I used to be really somewhat naive and underestimated how lengthy it might take for this mission to be successful.’

Drybala claimed he has been working to boost consciousness about trauma since 2018 and has run 17,000 miles since then. He additionally mentioned he has ‘spoken in entrance of fifty,000 folks in 14 nations’.

He added: ‘I perceive the anger of these folks you talked with, and I remorse I’m the reason for this anger. Regardless of my causes, that is incorrect, and I’ve to right it. 

‘I uncared for a few of my tasks for too lengthy, and I see what dramatic penalties it might deliver, as it might put me just a few years again and injury all my effort for the previous few years.

‘However most of those allegations are taken [out of context] and are interpretations of information, not information themselves, which I can present proof for.’

He declined to touch upon allegations regarding charitable fundraising, however lastly launched a fundraising web page on the day MailOnline uncovered his actions. 



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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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