Looking to build the most diverse team in marathon history, the Sanctuary Runner movement is seeking 1,000 runners, joggers and walkers to join them for this year’s virtual Cork City Marathon on June 6.
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.
It is the fourth successive year the solidarity-through-sport movement has entered a team in the marathon event, thanks to support from Cork City Council, but this year’s team is set to be its biggest yet.
"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," Busie Mhlophe, one of the Sanctuary Runner organisers explained.
By participating on the team in the virtual event, the Sanctuary Runners are hoping people will be filled with a sense of hope for brighter days to come when everyone can run together in person.
Participants can run a full or half marathon with the Sanctuary Runners or simply be part of a relay team.
And in a first for the Sanctuary Runners, teams in cities twinned with Cork city will participate virtually on race day, June 6.
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.
"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," Graham Clifford, Sanctuary Runner National Coordinator said.
"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."