Yesterday crowds gathered across London to cheer on and support the 42,906 people who pounded the streets for one of the largest single annual fundraising events in the world; the London Marathon. Amongst the thousands of participants were 4 runners that were taking on the 26.3 mile challenge in order to raise money for JRS UK. In the year that the Virgin Money London Marathon surpassed the £1bn mark for fundraising, our runners, Aidan, Andrew, Danny and Stephen were tasked with raising a combined total of £8000 that will support the work of JRS UK to accompany detained and destitute refugees in a spirit of welcome, hospitality and love.
Danny was first to cross the line, completing the course in just under 3hrs and 45 minutes. Following the race, Danny said, “Running for our refugee friends was a wonderful experience, but most definitely a once in a lifetime experience I might add! The people of London were awesome in carrying us all through to the end. It shows how inclusive and welcoming we can be. All the more reason to feel confident in the work of JRS.”
Next to cross the line was Andrew Tucker who finished in just over 4 hours, followed by Aidan, JRS UK’s Operations Manager, at 5hrs 25. Aidan said “I think that it is going to take a while for the achievement to actually sink in. Even after all the preparation that I had put in, those last 6 miles or so were extremely tough. Having family and friends to cheer me on and hearing my name called out thousands of times gave me the mental lift I needed and was fantastic from start to finish.”
Unfortunately, our final runner, Stephen, picked up an injury during the race and was unable to finish but was running at a good pace; predicted to finish in about 4 and a half hours.
Thanks to the efforts of all of our runners, JRS UK can continue to support our refugee friends, like Han who has been coming to the JRS Day Centre for about a year, with emotional and practical support. Whilst struggling to gain refugee status in the UK, Han and all our refugee friends are deprived of the right to work and precluded from accessing any benefits making it impossible for them to meet their basic needs. Han explains, “The Home Office has identified me as a person with no purpose in life. I have been denied housing, healthcare, legal aid and I don’t have any money to support myself.”
Our weekly Day Centre is a welcoming space where everyone is known, cared for and greeted by name. Offering hospitality to around 240 refugees each month, the Day Centre provides for essentials like a freshly cooked hot meal, packs of toiletries and a weekly £10 travel grant. Not only do these travel grants allow our refugee friends, like Han, to get from A to B but it enables them to access justice, to visit friends, and to participate in community.
Through the support you have shown our runners, you are helping JRS UK to support our refugee friends with travel grants, and the access to crucial support the travel grants offer. Your generosity shows refugees and people seeking asylum that they are welcomed, cared for and valued.
Forgot to donate to one of our runners before the Marathon? Don’t worry there is still plenty of time to donate!