How we work


Our model brings together Irish people and asylum seekers in Direct Provision enabling them to run on the same Sanctuary Runners team. We are non-political and our focus is on humanitarianism and positive action. The positive impact of physical exercise and the normality brought by running shoulder-to-shoulder with others benefits asylum seekers and Irish runners alike.


Our Sanctuary Runners come from every walk of life – teachers, museum directors, doctors, farmers, students, nurses, florists, journalists, photographers, graphic designers, musicians, lecturers, community workers etc. Young, old, tall, small! People who just want to let their feet do the talking and to show solidarity with those in Ireland’s Direct Provision system.


All of our runners, from the wider Irish community and those in Direct Provision, wear the same blue tops with the words ‘Solidarity, Friendship and Respect’ emblazoned on the back.

To join the Sanctuary Runners simply contact us here and we will put you in touch with your local group.

There is NO COST involved and we DO NOT FUNDRAISE so you will never be asked to raise funds for the group. This initiative is about solidarity rather than charity.

Every runner who signs up with the Sanctuary Runners will get one of the blue running tops without charge.

In some areas our runners will be preparing for a big race where they might run as an individual, or as part of a relay team, in a marathon or race of shorter distance. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A RUNNER TO JOIN BUT YOU DO HAVE TO SMILE!

Across Ireland Sanctuary Runners groups will take part in their local parkrun, which is free to participate in. If you wish to enter a more formal race (eg. Cork City Marathon, Great Limerick Run etc) with Sanctuary Runners who are in Direct Provision you would have to pay the regular entry fee. Those in Direct Provision enter races for free.

Visibility is key for us so whenever and wherever you can wear your blue running top we’d strongly encourage you to do so!


We ask local councils, trusts and corporates if they would like to sponsor our running tops – we’ll need so many more as our movement grows! Also we ask running clubs across Ireland if they can collect running shoes and gear which their members no longer need and are ready to discard. We will then offer the best quality gear to our runners in Direct Provision. This enables us to include so many more runners from Direct Provision and is also an environmentally friendly initiative.

How can I get involved?

Just email us at
and we’ll take care of the rest!