From top: Dublin Sanctuary Runners; Graham Clifford giving post-race peptalk in Corkagh Park last Saturday; Naima Chaudhry, Hicham, Siobhan Moran and Padraic Moran
Dublin Sanctuary Runners write:
A solidarity-inspired initiative which brought together 200 runners, spanning 40 different nationalities for last June’s Cork City Marathon, has now been launched in Dublin.
The Dublin Sanctuary Runners have been participating in the Corkagh Park 5km parkrun in Clondalkin each Saturday for the last six weeks but on Saturday, November 24th, the group was officially launched in the capital.
There are two Direct Provision centres in Dublin, the Clondalkin Towers centre with 231 residents and the Hatch Hall centre in Dublin 2 with 220 residents (figures correct as of July 29th).
“After the success of the marathon in Cork we decided it was important to set up similar groups across the country. We’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from those in Dublin and already have 80 Irish runners signed up to run with us here when they can,” explained Graham Clifford, writer, broadcaster and founder of the Sanctuary Runners movement.
On Saturday in Corkagh Park a group of 40 Sanctuary Runners, including many from the Clondalkin Towers centre, ran and walked together in solidarity.
The group also aim to enable people in the Hatch Hall Direct Provision to participate and will be taking part in various parkruns across Dublin in the months to come. They will also reach out to former residents of Direct Provision centres now living in Dublin.
“The Sanctuary Runners aim to break down the barriers which exist between those in the Direct Provision system and those outside the gates. To allow Irish people show solidarity, friendship, kindness and respect to those awaiting a decision on their immigration status. Also, it promotes activities that benefit both mental and physical health and for people in Direct Provision that’s vital.
“The collaboration with the parkruns network has been wonderful. We are non-political and focussed on humanitarianism and showing fellow human beings the same dignity and support as we would hope to be shown were we ever in the same situation in another country,” added Clifford.
The Sanctuary Runners have also launched local running groups in Cork and Limerick with plans to expand to Galway, Waterford, Kerry, Longford and Laois in the coming months. Nationally they have over 400 members already.
Supporters, who have also helped with training sessions, include athletes Lizzie Lee, Rob Heffernan, Derval O’Rourke, Sonia O’Sullivan and Gillian O’Sullivan as well as Kerry GAA legend Tomás Ó’Sé and Limerick All-Ireland winner Kevin Downes.
“While it will be beyond most Sanctuary Runners to take on the full Dublin City Marathon next year we hope to enter teams in upcoming races in, and around, Dublin. Bit-by-bit we hope to increase our group’s visibility, and everyone is welcome to join us and wear one of our iconic blue tops in solidarity,” said Clifford.
The Sanctuary Runners is not a charity and those who join are not asked to pay any membership – nor will they ever be asked to fundraise a single cent.
Funded by sponsorship from Cork City Council, Limerick Healthy Cities and a number of corporate donations the Sanctuary Runners focus on solidarity rather than charity.
“Running is a wonderful leveller. When you’re out pounding the roads race, religion, nationality, gender and legal status are irrelevant. Our team motivate each other, support each other and look out for each other. We show solidarity to each other not pity. And laughter flows through everything we do. We can’t wait to welcome more people to the Dublin Sanctuary Runners now that we’ve launched,” said Graham Clifford.
To find out more about the Sanctuary Runners or to join us visit: SanctuaryRunners.ie or email Anna Pringle, the Coordinator of the Dublin Sanctuary Runners at SanctuaryRunnersDublin@gmail.com