RUNNING GROUP: Michael O’Riordan is inviting the public to a community meeting to launch ‘Sanctuary Runners’ Killarney tomorrow evening (Tuesday). Photo: Michelle Crean

By Sean Moriarty


Running enthusiasts who would like to join an organisation that extends friendship, via running, to people in Direct Provision are invited to attend a public meeting.


The Sanctuary Runners, who encourage Irish people to run alongside, and in solidarity with those in Direct Provision, bringing greater awareness to the system in which asylum seekers live, will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) night, at the John Paul II Pastoral Centre on Rock Road.


Sanctuary Runners was officially launched in Dublin last November where they partake in regular 5k runs in Clondalkin.


Mike O’Riordan is a member of Killarney Valley Athletic Club and participates in the Parkruns in Muckross every Saturday. He has arranged for Sanctuary Runners founder, Glenbeigh man, Graham Clifford to launch the initiative in Kerry.


Graham was inspired to launch Sanctuary Runners after witnessing a solidarity-inspired initiative which brought together 200 runners, spanning 40 different nationalities for last June’s Cork City Marathon.


“After the success of the marathon in Cork we decided it was important to set up similar groups across the country,” Grahamsaid. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from those in Dublin and already have 80 Irish runners signed up to run with us here when they can.”


Mike O’Riordan, who formerly worked with the Killarney Asylum Seekers Initiative (KASI) will coordinate the Killarney Sanctuary Runners.


“Whether you run every week or haven’t run for years this movement will welcome you just the same,” Mike said.“Many of the people who will run with us from Direct Provision won’t have taken part in physical exercise for a long time and often the energy and motivation required to do it can be low. You don’t have to run, you can jog a little or just walk too. So together we hope to use this healthy, fun initiative to get people fit again, to put smiles on faces, to bring people together and to show what a caring, compassionate and welcoming town Killarney really is.”