The Sanctuary Runners was established in Cork in February, 2018 by feature writer and broadcaster Graham Clifford and photographer Clare Keogh. With the support of Cork City Council, and The Tomar Trust, we had a team of 200 participating in the Cork City Marathon on June 3rd which included 51-people from across the five different Direct Provision centres in Cork. The team spanned 40 nationalities.
During months of training, top sports stars including Olympians Lizzie Lee, Gillian O’Sullivan and Rob Heffernan and GAA’s Tomas O’ Sé helped our team to be ready.
And we had support from legends of Irish athletics Sonia O’Sullivan and Derval O’Rourke. In the weeks and months that followed the Cork Marathon the Sanctuary Runners movement spread to Dublin, Limerick, Kerry, Waterford and Galway where local coordinators have been appointed. Some of our runners from Direct Provision now run with local running clubs and are thriving. In addition, the Sanctuary Runners have teamed up with the parkruns movement so that people in Direct Provision can run with Irish people locally thereby creating friendships, increasing awareness and enabling them to take part in regular exercise.