Sanctuary Runners


Sanctuary Runners bring together Irish residents, refugees and asylum seekers to run together to foster solidarity, friendship and respect.

The founder of Sanctuary Runners Graham Clifford and the late Tony Power of Cork City Council, have both been awarded Cork Persons of the Month Awards for the month of February.

The Sanctuary Runners was named one of Europe’s leading solidarity-through-sport movements by the European Commission in 2019. A year later, Cork City Council won the Health and Wellbeing Innovation award at the Chamber’s Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards for its collaboration with the Sanctuary Runners.  In 2020, Cork City Council and the Sanctuary Runners won the award for ‘Best Community Sports Club in Ireland’ at the All-Ireland Community and Council Awards at Croke Park.

At the awards presentation, founder Graham Clifford recalled the help and assistance he received from the late Tony Power of Cork City Council in saying that, “Tony really believed in what we were doing. He never said ‘no’ and always tried to push the boundaries of what we could achieve. Whether that was helping us acquire running tops, getting a street closed for a post-race celebration or entering us for national awards Tony was always there beside us. His input as a public servant was just intrinsic to our development and growth and his passion was inspiring.”

In July, 2021, Tony Power died suddenly at the age of 57. Sanctuary Runners lined the streets outside Cork City Hall to pay their respects. Paul Moynihan of Cork City Council who was a colleague and friend of Tony’s, said that, “Tony was a loyal and trusted colleague and we were all shocked and deeply saddened by his tragic passing. His complete absence of airs and graces helped him to connect with and build strong relations with all the communities he worked with. Tony never sought the limelight, but I know that he always took great personal satisfaction from his social inclusion work.”

Graham Clifford is a former feature writer and broadcaster for The Irish Times, Irish Independent, Business Post, RTÉ Radio 1, BBC Local Radio and Radio Kerry.

Graham Clifford and Tony Power’s names now go forward, with the other Persons of the Month chosen this year, for possible selection as Cork Persons of the Year at a Gala Awards Lunch on January next (2023).