Sanctuary Runners Limerick launched back in October 2018 and will host their first meeting this Saturday 2nd February at 1.30pm in Belltable. Everyone is welcome to come and find out more about the group.
Bringing together Irish people and those in Direct Provision on the one running team, it’s hoped the Limerick Sanctuary Runners will be able to enter a team in this year’s Great Limerick Run.
Founder of the Sanctuary Runners, Graham Clifford who works as a feature writer with the Irish Times and broadcaster with RTÉ Radio 1, said he was delighted to be bringing the initiative to Ireland’s sporting capital:
“Limerick is a natural home for the Sanctuary Runners. And I am so confident that the amazing reaction and support we received in Cork will be replicated here. Our initiative is about respect, solidarity and humanity. Sport is a great equaliser and when people are running together, shoulder-to-shoulder, its then that conversation flow, smiles emerge and friendships build.”
The Sanctuary Runners, which is a non-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers, had a team of 200 competing in this year’s Cork City Marathon, including 51 runners from across the five different Direct Provision Centres in Cork.
Gillian Fenton, Marketing Manager with the Lime Tree Theatre will lead the initiative in Limerick and hopes members of the wider public will join the group.
“Often people don’t know how they can help people in Direct Provision. They don’t know if and how they can meet with them and show their solidarity. This is a simple, uplifting and positive way of making that connection and showing how compassionate the people of Limerick are,” she said.
According to the latest figures available from the Reception and Integration Agency there are 438 people in the three Direct Provision Centres in Limerick and just over the border in County Clare. Hanrattys on Glentworth street had 116 residents in July 2018, Knockalisheen in Meelick had 240 and the Mount Trenchard Centre in Foynes had 82.
Amongst those who have lent their support to the Limerick Sanctuary Runners are Cllr Joe Leddin and all the team behind The Great Limerick Run, Kevin Downes from the Limerick Hurley Team and Phelim Macken from Limerick Sports Partnership. Sporting icons such as Sonia O’Sullivan, Derval O’Rourke, Rob Heffernan and GAA’ s Tomás O’ Sé have all given their time to the initiative in recent months.