Running group offers sanctuary to asylum seekers

by Padraig Conlon
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[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]People living in Direct Provision in Clondalkin are enjoying a new initiative which brings people together through running.

The Dublin Sanctuary Runners are a solidarity-inspired group who run every week with asylum seekers living in the Clondalkin and Hatch Hall Centres.

The group, who have been taking part in the Corkagh Park 5km parkrun each Saturday for the last eight weeks, officially launched at the end of last month.

Anna Pringle, who is coordinator for Dublin Sanctuary Runners, explained to Dublin Gazette how running is helping integration in the local community.

“The Sanctuary Runners was founded by Graham Clifford in Cork in 2018.

“Initially the group was made up of 200 members, of which 50 were asylum seekers from Direct Provision centres in Cork County.

“They took part in the Cork City Marathon and leading up it they trained together, got to know each other and bond.

“Graham’s aim was to create something that allowed Irish people show solidarity with those in asylum seeker accommodation.

“I met Graham and through my involvement with the parkrun network here in Dublin suggested we meet with parkrun Ireland.

“We were delighted when country manager Matt Shields said parkrun were happy to welcome Sanctuary Runners.”

There are two Direct Provision centres in Dublin, the Clondalkin Towers centre with 231 residents and the Hatch Hall centre in Dublin 2 with 220 residents.

Anna says the Sanctuary Runners want to break down barriers between people in the Direct Provision system and those outside the gates through running.

“The weekly runs are very popular both with people living in the centre and the local community, it’s all really sociable, relaxed and great fun.

“It gives those in Direct Provision a chance to meet new people and integrate.

“And because Corkagh Park is only 15 minutes from the Centre it’s very accessible for them.

“The group is nonpolitical and is just focussed on showing fellow human beings dignity and respect.

“The group motivates and supports each other because taking part in activities that benefit both mental and physical health is so important.

“For people in Direct Provision it’s vital.

“Everyone is welcome so feel free to join us, there’s no pressure, we are accommodating to all levels, if you want to just walk that’s great.

“We are looking to expand beyond Clondalkin over time.”

To find out more about the Sanctuary Runners or to join us visit: or email Anna Pringle, the Coordinator of the Dublin Sanctuary Runners at [email protected][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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