Sanctuary Runners to bring diverse team to the virtual start line of the Cork City Marathon

Sanctuary Runners to bring diverse team to the virtual start line of the Cork City Marathon

Sanctuary Runners, John Riordan, Carmen Burns, Kallie Barrie and Busie Mhlophe. Picture: Clare Keogh

Solidarity through sport movement, the Sanctuary Runners will bring over 1,700 people to the virtual start line of the Cork City Marathon this weekend.

It is the fourth successive year the multi-award-winning movement founded in Cork and supported by Cork City Council has entered a team in the marathon event.

However, in a first for the Sanctuary Runners, teams in cities twinned with Cork city will participate virtually on race day.

Sanctuary Runners will take part across 28 different countries including England, Canada, India, Italy and South Africa.

While many will take on the full or half marathon distance the majority will run, jog or walk a symbolic relay leg of 8.5 kilometres in what’s being dubbed the ‘Light at the end of the (Jack Lynch) Tunnel Run’.

“Each year with the great support of Cork City Council we enter a large team in the marathon but because of Covid-19 we had to think a bit differently this year,” Founder of the Sanctuary Runners Graham Clifford explained.

“The response from people across the world has been amazing.

“We have people running in Vietnam, groups in New Zealand and Abu Dhabi.

“We have runners in Zimbabwe, China and Brazil and all across Europe and the USA with a large group in San Francisco being the final runners to take part on Sunday.

“And of course, runners, joggers and walkers all across Ireland.

“While all are taking part remotely their hearts will be on the streets of Cork on Sunday.” 

And around 250 asylum seekers and refugees will also take part at the weekend.

The Sanctuary Runners was established in January 2018 to enable Irish residents to run alongside, and in solidarity with, people living in Ireland’s Direct Provision system.

Given the virtual nature of the run those taking part will do so individually or in small pods mindful of Covid-19 restrictions on exercising outdoors.

“It’s fantastic to see such a huge number of people running together though apart this year,” Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe Kavanagh, said.

“We’re especially delighted to have so many Sanctuary Runners taking part worldwide – it’s particularly heart-warming to see Cork city’s sister cities take part!

“It truly is the marathon for everyone!

“Best of luck to everyone running, jogging or walking over the weekend.

“We look forward to welcoming you back onto the streets of Cork for next year’s Cork City Marathon.” 

Next year’s Cork City Marathon is scheduled to take place on June 5.

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