Light at the end of the Tunnel – Sanctuary Runners to build team of 1,000 for Cork City Marathon 2021

The Sanctuary Runners seek 1,000 competitors for virtual Cork City Marathon

–          Solidarity-Through-Sport movement brings together asylum seekers, refugees, and wider Irish society

–          Cities twinned with Cork to enter relay teams in this year’s virtual race with the Sanctuary Runners

–          Special portal set up on Cork City Marathon website for people to join


Looking to the future with resilience, determination and hope the Sanctuary Runner movement is looking for 1,000 runners, joggers and walkers to join them for this year’s virtual Cork City Marathon on June 6th.

It is the fourth successive year the solidarity-through-sport movement has entered a team in the event, thanks to support from Cork City Council, but this year’s team is set to be its biggest by far.

“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” explains one of the Sanctuary Runner organisers Busie Mhlophe.

The Sanctuary Runners bring together asylum seekers, refugees, and those in wider Irish society to run, jog or walk together on the one team in a spirit of solidarity, friendship, and respect.

Participants can run a full or half marathon with the Sanctuary Runners or simply to be part of a relay team.

“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,” said Mhlophe.

And in a first for the Sanctuary Runners, teams in cities twinned with Cork City will participate virtually on Race day – June 6th.

Specially designed Sanctuary Runner tops are being made for 50 runners in each of the cities of San Francisco, Shanghai, Cologne, Rennes, Swansea, and Coventry.

Sanctuary Runner National Coordinator Graham Clifford explains: “This way Cork’s sister cities can be part of this unique bid to build perhaps the most diverse team ever to have entered a marathon anywhere in the world. All the Sanctuary Runner tops will include the name of the sister-city across the front, but all will also bear the Cork City Council crest. And this will help us take a first step in establishing Sanctuary Runner groups in those locations.”

And a special video has been made to encourage participants to step forward – Light at the end of the Tunnel – Sanctuary Runners’ need 1,000 runners in Cork City Marathon 2021 – YouTube

During Covid19 residents in Direct Provision centres have had to contend with outbreaks of the virus as the congregated and communal settings in which many live make social distancing and the prevention of spread so difficult.

“It’s been very difficult to stand by and do almost nothing as outbreaks spread in centres. The mental anguish for those in Direct Provision centres during Covid19 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 Clifford.

For more information on the Sanctuary Runners’ 1,000 bid go to or to sign up to take part with the Sanctuary Runners email

Or sign up directly at and use the access code: Sanctuary21 to register for a leg of the relay as a Sanctuary Runner.


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