A wave of blue weaved itself through the cross country track at the Sport Ireland campus in Dublin on Sunday morning as 900 runners, walkers and joggers took part in the Permanent TSB Sanctuary Run.
Now in its second year, the 5km event celebrates diversity and interculturalism in Ireland and amongst those taking part were refugees from across direct provision centres and emergency accommodation centres in the wider Dublin area – a well as local runners and many Ukrainian people who travelled from across the city and from Grangegorman.
Organised by Sanctuary Runners, an Irish solidarity-through-sport organisation, the event was also attended by Olympians including Eimear Lambe, Kellie Harrington, Kenneth Egan and Emily Hegarty as well as GAA Dublin legend Michael Daragh MacAuley.
President Michael D Higgins commended the Sanctuary Runners for their work saying “In a world where divisions can sometimes overshadow our common humanity, your organisation is breaking down barriers, nurturing the essence of inclusivity and understanding through the simple act of running.”
He added: “Your celebration of diversity and interculturalism (today) and your commitment to fostering unity, solidarity and respect highlight the power of shared experiences and the strength of our bonds. Your efforts inspire us all, reminding us that together we can achieve great things.”
This year, Sanctuary Runners was delighted to welcome Permanent TSB, proud title sponsor of the Olympic Federation of Ireland and the Paralympics Ireland, as official sponsor for the popular event. The Run was also supported by the OFI and, for the second year in succession, Athletics Ireland.
Graham Clifford, CEO and founder of Sanctuary Runners, said today’s run, which included 43 different nationalities, was not just a joyous celebration but also a very important event:
“Sport should be for everyone regardless of nationality, skin colour, legal status, religion, gender or sexual orientation and it was great today to see so many people, of different backgrounds, running as one.
The buzz at the course today was just incredible and it was so wonderful to see all those smiles. It reemphasizes for us as an organisation the importance of doing things ‘with’ rather than ‘for’ people who are marginalised and often unseen.
It’s about building bridges, bringing people together and ensuring everyone feels seen, valued and respected.”
The winners of the chipped 5km run were Kahumburuka Ivan Tuahuku (male winner) and Sorcha Loughnane (female winner). While the majority of the field took part in the fun run and walk at the picturesque venue.
Participants including Patience Dube who is originally from Zimbabwe and currently seeking international protection. She said: “This is just the most wonderful event because everyone here feels seen and respected. Its an important celebration because some days can be very difficult. Today we got to run together, smile together and dance together. It’s just wonderful.”
For the event sponsors Permanent TSB today’s event was another example of their commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Permanent TSB Chief Human Resources Officer and Director of Corporate Development, Ger Mitchell explained: “As proud title sponsor of Team Ireland, we are delighted to collaborate with our partners at the Olympic Federation of Ireland, as well as the teams at both Sanctuary Runners and Athletics Ireland to deliver the Permanent TSB Sanctuary Run.
Sport has an important role to play in bringing people together to create more inclusive communities, and we got to witness that out on the cross country track today, as 900 people from all different backgrounds came together in solidarity to take part in this year’s event.
Through our own commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we continually seek to create a more inclusive Permanent TSB for our colleagues, customers and communities and that is what the Permanent TSB Sanctuary Run all is about.”
And Catherine Tiernan, Commercial Director with the Olympic Federation of Ireland, said today’s event reflects the OFI’s commitment to ensuring sport is accessible for all.
She said: “Team Ireland’s Olympic athletes’ inspire others to believe in their potential and to strive for excellence. They are the face of modern Ireland, and we celebrate their diversity as they represent us on the World Stage. The Sanctuary Run is a wonderful expression of these same qualities, and we are delighted to support people from all backgrounds as they come together to show unity, solidarity and friendship through running.”