Refugees will run Bristol Half to celebrate city’s welcoming spirit

Last updated July 17, 2014Press release

A team of refugee runners are training up to take part in the Bristol Half Marathon on 21 September to celebrate Bristol as a city of welcome and help inspire others to run in support of people seeking safety across the nation.

As one of the official charity partners of this year’s race, Refugee Action has recruited the team of refugees and is supporting them in their specific training, nutrition and kit needs.

The refugee team, who come from countries as diverse as Sri Lanka, Sudan and Syria, are also putting themselves through their paces to raise awareness of the tough reality of life for most asylum seekers and refugees living in the UK.

Nima, an asylum seeker from Iran in his early 30s, ran the Great Manchester 10k with Refugee Action in June and is now preparing to take on the longer half-marathon Bristol-based challenge.

Nima came to the UK seeking asylum two years ago and is still waiting to hear a decision on his claim for refugee status. On his motivations to start running, he said:

“I’ve been through a very rough time last year and it made me quite depressed and anxious about everything, so being active helps me to deal with it.”

Nima approached Refugee Action, who involved him in various activities to improve his wellbeing.

“To be more active and take part in this charity project and do any kind of social thing as much as you can helps you integrate you into society and get to know more people.”

“My message to people who run in support of Refugee Action is that it’s very kind of them to do so. It’s very reassuring to refugees running side by side British people. It makes me feel more at home. It makes me feel like I’m welcomed here.”

Supporters will also be able to sponsor the refugee running team for their efforts via a Just Giving page, raising money for Refugee Action.

Sign up to run in the Bristol Half Marathon
Read Nima’s uplifting account of his last race day in our online blog post.

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