Over 40 people from many nationalities turned up to the launch of Sanctuary Runners’ newest group in East Meath on April 22nd on Laytown beach. Walkers and runners from New Zealand, Sierra Leone, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Nigeria and Ukraine came together as part of this solidarity-through-sport initiative that welcomes all in the community including asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants.

Sanctuary Runners’ ethos is simple, according to Naima Forde, Regional Development Officer for Meath and Dublin, ‘Walking or running together is a brilliant way to welcome people to your town or village. Sanctuary Runner groups are very casual and friendly, and anyone who joins can feel that welcome immediately. It gives people a way of reaching out to those new to their community while doing something for their own wellbeing too’

The group gathered together on Laytown beach on a bright Saturday morning and set off amid lots of chat and laughter in their distinctive blue Sanctuary Runner t-shirts with ‘solidarity, friendship, respect’ emblazoned on the back. Some took on the challenge of a 5km run while other preferred to walk 2 or 3 km, meeting back for tea, coffee and chat at the picnic area 30 minutes later. Members of Cilles AC were among the locals who helped set up the morning for success, marking the route and providing rain cover, which thankfully was not needed!

Sinu Sibindi, originally from Zimbabwe, was keen to help get the new group off the ground ‘Getting out to the beach on a Saturday morning is a great start to the weekend. As a member of the organising committee, it was lovely to be able to invite some friends along and then to meet new faces from Laytown and local groups too’.

All are welcome to walk, run or help organise the group who meet next on Saturday 6 May at 10.30am at the picnic tables at Laytown beach and again on Saturday 20 May (time to be confirmed). For more information contact Michael on eastmeath@sanctuaryrunners.ie or Naima on naima@sanctuaryrunners.ie. No particular experience or level of fitness is required