The Sanctuary Runners and Irish Refugee Council team up to run for Solidarity

 ·      Solidarity running movement now growing in 18-locations across Ireland
·      The Irish Refugee Council to provide financial governance and strategic support for the Sanctuary Runners
·      Plans to grow membership of the movement to 3,000 this year and to stage a ‘Solidarity Run’ at Tokyo 2020


The Sanctuary Runners, a movement established in January 2018, and the Irish Refugee Council have joined forces to grow the initiative across Ireland and the world.

Using running to bring Irish residents together with asylum seekers and refugees the movement is now in place in 18-different locations across Ireland with its epicentre in Cork City where the group was founded by journalist and broadcaster Graham Clifford.

The Irish Refugee Council will provide financial governance for the Sanctuary Runners and offer advice and support to the group.

“This is a very important step in our progression,” explained Graham Clifford of the Sanctuary Runners.

He continued: “The Irish Refugee Council has so much expertise and experience in this area and their support will help us to grow. We have seen the Sanctuary Runners movement thrive over the last two years, now with 1,500 members, and there is a real desire out there to show solidarity, friendship and respect to those living in Direct Provision or Emergency accommodation. This boost will drive us on as we continue to expand.”

And Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council said,

“We are delighted to partner with the Sanctuary Runners. Since its creation in 2018 we have watched with awe as this unique movement has grown across the country. We will be supporting the Sanctuary Runners through financial governance and assisting with the future strategy of the movement. It is an amazing example of a movement that breaks down barriers with an inclusive ethos.” 

This year the Sanctuary Runners will take part in over 50 running races across the country as well as at weekly parkruns across Ireland. They plan to have 1,000 Sanctuary Runners taking part in the Cork City Marathon on May 31st and to stage a ‘Solidarity Run with All Migrants’ in Tokyo during the Olympic Games on August 1st with the support of the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

“Running is a great equaliser. When we run we run as one and the labels of citizen, asylum seeker, refugee, migrant….they all disappear. That feeling of solidarity and egalitarianism is very powerful both for the person seeking protection in our country and for Irish people. There is no ‘them’ and ‘us’ – just ‘we’,” said Graham Clifford.

To find out more about the Sanctuary Runners visit or for more on the work of the Irish Refugee Council go to

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Note to editors:
  • The Sanctuary Runners is not a charity but rather focuses on solidarity, friendship and respect
  • It was named one of the leading social inclusion in sports initiatives in Europe by the European Commission at the #Beinclusive Awards in 2019
  • Graham Clifford of the Sanctuary Runners is available for interview – Call (086) 4462650
  • Sanctuary Runner Groups in Ireland are in: Cork City, Mallow, Macroom, Killarney, Kenmare, Tralee, Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Longford, Westmeath, Meath, Dublin (2 groups), Wicklow, Waterford.
  • To find out more about the Sanctuary Runners follow @Sanctuaryrunner on Twitter