Running group with links to direct provision centre looking for support

By Aimee Walsh

A RUNNING group that has strong links with a direct provision centre in Clondalkin are looking for 1,000 people, for the virtual Cork City Marathon, to run in solidarity.

Sanctuary Runners are putting out the call for 1,000 runners, joggers and walkers from around Ireland to join them in participating in this year’s virtual Cork City Marathon, which takes place on June 6.

from left John Riordan Carmen Burns Kallie Barrie and Busie Mhlophe credit Clare Keogh 1

John Riordan, Carmen Burns, Kallie Barrie and Busie Mhlophe Photo by Clare Keogh

The group, which was founded back in 2018, brings together asylum seekers, refugees and those in the wider Irish society to run or walk together in a spirit of solidarity, friendship and respect as part of the solidarity-through-sport initiatives.

Pre pandemic, the running group usually took part in the Corkagh Park parkrun every Saturday morning, with some members of the group living in the direct provision centre in Clondalkin Towers.

Speaking about the upcoming event, Busie Mhlope, one of the Sanctuary Runners organisers said: “Last year a symbolic relay team covered the distance on behalf of everyone else but this year we want to get all our team running, jogging and walking virtually, to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“A special portal has been set up on the website so if you just want to run one leg on a relay team you can register and we will place you in a team.”

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year participants can take part from anywhere around Ireland and there is an option to walk or run a full or half marathon, or even a leg of the relay race.

Graham Clifford, one of the founders of Sanctuary Runners, said that it has been “very difficult” to stand by helpless as there have been outbreaks of Covid-19 in direct provision centres across the country.

“The mental anguish for those in direct provision centres during Covid-19 continues to make a difficult situation so much worse.

“But now together, we look to better times, vaccines, and a time when we can run together again.

“Until then we will throw everything we have at this year’s Cork City Marathon,” explained Graham.

All those who sign up to run with the Sanctuary Runners will get a Sanctuary Runners running top which they can wear on the day.

To sign up to the virtual Cork Marathon with the Sanctuary Runners, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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