About us

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, a team of 200 participated in the Cork City Marathon (2018) which included 51-people from across the five different Direct Provision centres in Cork. The team spanned 40 nationalities. A year later 360 Sanctuary Runners took part in the race and in 2020.

It was our hope to have 1,000 Sanctuary Runners at this year’s Cork City Marathon but Covid19 meant that wouldn’t be. Still in this amazing video made by Clare Keogh you’ll see that we ran in our own way as a team – Apart but As One.


Our team includes Olympians such as Olive Loughnane, Rob and Marian Heffernan and Clare Lambe – and we’ve had support from stars of the track such as Sonia O’Sullivan, Lizzie Lee and Gillian O’Sullivan and GAA legend Tomas O’Sé

In 2019 the Sanctuary Runners spread to a dozen different locations across Ireland, from Killarney to Sligo and Longford to Waterford. By November, 2019, we had 1,200 runners across Ireland and now participate in over 50 running events in every corner of the country. At latest count we have 25 groups and over 3,000 members. Also we work with the parkrun movement and our Sanctuary Runners can be found at 5k runs every Saturday morning where we also volunteer. And through it all our core values maintain – Solidarity, Friendship and Respect. Our aim now is to expand across Ireland but also to grow our Movement internationally.

About Direct Provision