Running group promoting solidarity between refugees and locals launches Cork City Marathon challenge
Life & Style

Running group promoting solidarity between refugees and locals launches Cork City Marathon challenge

AN Irish movement promoting solidarity with asylum seekers, migrants and refugees through sport has launched a new challenge ahead of the Cork City Marathon.

The Sanctuary Runners organisation is calling on people in businesses, schools and clubs throughout Cork to enter a new 10k run which takes place during the Cork City Marathon on June 4.

Gene Cahill, John Riordan ,Yan Zhang and Tinashe Sibanda of the Sanctuary Runners gather in Tramore Valley Park in Cork to launch their '10 For 10' campaign

More specifically their 10 for 10 Challenge seeks 10 people from each organisation in the community to sign up and run the 10k route with the Sanctuary Runners team, which will include asylum seekers and refugees from centres in the Munster region.

“We want to get 10 participants from each business, community, street, school or sports club in Cork and beyond to join our team in the race on Sunday, June 4,” Sanctuary Runners founder Graham Clifford explains.

“You can run, jog or walk the 10km and all participants will cross the finish line on Patrick Street.”

He added: “It will be an amazing event and allow people the powerful opportunity to show solidarity with people living in Direct Provision as well as Ukrainian people who have arrived in Ireland since the outbreak of war there.”

Yan Zhang is a member of the Sanctuary Runners organisation

All Sanctuary Runners will be given one of the organisation's iconic blue Sanctuary Runner tops or singlets ahead of the event.

“The people of Cork have always embraced the Sanctuary Runners and we know they will step up to the start line with us again,” Mr Clifford added.

“We run as one and we feel initiatives such as ours are needed now more than ever.”

Sanctuary Runners also hope to attract people to run the full or half marathon with them.

One of the pacers in this year’s Cork half marathon will be Adabblah Noel Selorm - a former refugee who is now a proud Sanctuary Runner – who will wear the organisation’s distinctive logo on his pacer’s running top.

With 200 participants in their first Cork City Marathon in 2018, the Sanctuary Runners have grown the size of their team year on year - boasting 400 runners in 2019, before Covid saw the physical event cancelled for two years, and 450 runners in 2022.

Sanctuary Runners pictured with Tinashe Sibanda at the launch event

With 2023 marking the first year that runners and walkers aged 15 and over are allowed to enter the new 10km distance, Sanctuary Runners are hoping secondary school teachers and students in Cork and the surrounding counties will put forward participants.

They are also planning a lively street party to be held in Cork City after the event.

To enter the Cork City Marathon as a Sanctuary Runner click here, where a discounted rate applies.

For further information email [email protected] or click here.